Palm Bay man accidentally sets self on fire

Palm Bay man accidentally sets self on fire while decorating for Halloween

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PALM BAY, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35 ORLANDO) -

A Palm Bay man is recovering in the hospital after being burned while trying to decorate for  Halloween.

The 50-year-old man was flown to an Orlando hospital after the accidental fire that burned approximately 40 to 50 percent of his body.

Just after 8 p.m. Tuesday Palm Bay Fire-Rescue firefighters and paramedics responded to the 1300 block of Wacker Ave. SE after receiving a call from a witness who reported the man had accidentally set himself on fire.

"Sounded like a gunshot," said Bryan Eriksen.

Eriksen said he and his roommate ran outside after they heard the noise.

"He was laying right there in the ditch," said Eriksen.  "He was in a lot of pain."

Eriksen isn't any ordinary neighbor, he is also a firefighter.

"I called 911 and told them what was wrong with the patient.  His shirt was burning on the road when I got here, but he had it off of him," Eriksen said.   "I did what I was trained to do."

According to neighbors, the victim was setting up decorations in the front yard, but he somehow ended up in a nearby ditch. 

"I'm very worried about him," said neighbor Pops Lister.  "He's a good friend."

Lister also heard a loud explosion but wasn't clear as to what happened.  Witnesses said the man's wife ran to put out the fire.

"She grabbed the hose, and put it down. His t-shirt was burning, and it was still on him," said Lister.  No, but this was the first year for his grand baby."

The man was using gasoline, wood, and candles in an area that was not properly ventilated and subsequently triggered the fire, firefighters say.  According to neighbors, he was burning a small cross.

Rescuers treated the victim at the scene.  He was then airlifted to the hospital for treatment of second-degree burns to his upper torso.

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