Wheelchair blaze kills retired man

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LANCASTER, Calif. (AP) – A retiree died after his electric wheelchair caught fire and he couldn’t escape, authorities said Thursday.

Harold Jump, 63, was engulfed in flames and suffered burns over more than 75 percent of his body, said county coroner’s spokesman Craig Harvey. He was pronounced dead Wednesday at a Los Angeles hospital, Harvey said.

The wheelchair motor apparently touched off the fire.

“His wheelchair started to catch on fire, and he just couldn’t get out of his wheelchair,” said Assistant Fire Chief Mark Bennett of the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

“When we responded, he was fully engulfed in flames,” Bennett said. “It’s horrible.”

A neighbor heard the man’s screams, and a 911 call brought firefighters to the man’s home at about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Bennett said.

Fire officials declined to say why the man used a wheelchair.

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