Cell phone ignites, burns man and hotel

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VALLEJO, Calif. (AP) – It’s every gadget fan’s nightmare: A cell phone apparently ignited in a man’s pocket and started a fire that caused severe burns over half his body.

Luis Picaso, 59, was in stable condition Monday at UC Davis Medical Center with second and third-degree burns to his upper body, back, right arm and right leg, Vallejo Fire Department assistant chief Kurt Henke said.

Firefighters arrived at a residential hotel late Saturday night to find Picaso lying on the bathroom floor after the cell phone in his pants pocket set fire to his nylon and polyester clothes, department spokesman Bill Tweedy said.

“It was either a malfunction or some type of glitch in his phone,” Tweedy said, adding that investigators found no other possible ignition source, such as matches or open flame, nearby.

The flames spread to a plastic chair, setting off a sprinkler that held the fire in check until firefighters arrived, he said. Authorities declined to name the manufacturer and model of the phone.

The fire and water caused $75,000 damage.

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