Burn victim dies after witnesses extinguish flames

A 49-year-old man who was engulfed in flames has died, Costa Mesa police said Monday.

Passersby discovered the man, identified as a resident of Fallbrook, on fire about 4:50 p.m. Sunday in a parking lot in the 2200 block of Newport Boulevard and called for help, according to police.

Several residents used their shirts to try to extinguish the flames before someone else brought over a fire extinguisher.

When they arrived, police found the man's white truck burned on the passenger side, with a red plastic gas container and lighter near the vehicle. The majority of the man's body was burned, and he was taken to Santa Ana's Western Medical Center in "extremely critical condition," police said.

It remains unclear whether the incident was arson or an accidental fire.

Authorities are withholding his identity pending notification of next of kin.

Police ask that anyone with information contact Sgt. Ed Everett at (714) 754-5395 or Det. David Casarez at (714) 754-5157.

— Lauren Williams

Twitter: @lawilliams30

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