Man Checks Gas Can and Burns Down Home

<i> Associated Press</i>

A man who used a cigarette lighter to look inside a gasoline can set off a fire that destroyed a mobile home and critically burned a friend.

Joseph Tompkins, 30, was trying to determine whether there was water in the gasoline can Sunday, Fire Capt. Gregory Summers said.

“He ignited the fumes that were escaping the gas can,” Summers said. “Once he ignited the fumes, he dropped the gas can--he slung it, really--and threw gas on the floor, and that gas ignited.”

Tompkins suffered minor burns on his hand. The home’s owner, Donna Harrington, and her son escaped the blaze, but Harrington, 43, was severely burned when she went back inside to rescue a dog that did not survive.