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Man Pumping Gas Suffers Severe Burns

A 22-year-old man was engulfed in flames during a flash-fire that erupted while he was filling up his car at a gas station, authorities said.

Angel Silba of Van Nuys suffered third-degree burns over 95% of his body in the freak blaze that ignited just before 10:45 p.m. Friday at the Arco service station at the corner of Morse Avenue and Victory Boulevard.

Silba was in extremely critical condition late Saturday at the Grossman Burn Center at Sherman Oaks Hospital and Health Center, hospital spokesman Larry Weinberg said.

“The only part of his body that wasn’t burned were his feet,” Weinberg said. “He has received the last rites of the Roman Catholic Church.”

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Fire investigators inspected the scene, but the cause of the blaze remained a mystery late Saturday.

“They have to track down people who saw it, who were there,” said Los Angeles Fire Department spokesman Bob Collis. “It could take some time.”

Firefighters responding to the call were able to extinguish the fire--which consumed Silba’s car--before it spread to nearby gasoline pumps, said Collis.

Also injured was the victim’s brother, who officials said tried to pull Silba from the fire. The brother, whose name was not released, was treated at North Hollywood Medical Center for burns to his hands, a nursing supervisor said.

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Silba’s girlfriend and another female friend of the men were inside the gas station paying for the fuel when the blaze ignited.

Weinberg said Silba’s chances for recovery were slim because of the severity of the burns. But, he said, “miracles do happen in burns like this.”


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