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Severely burned New Caney man, 73, dies

Dale Lezo, Houston Chronicle
Updated 4:54 pm, Monday, January 28, 2013
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Montgomery County authorities said the burning death of a 73-year-old New Caney man earlier this month should serve as a warning to others against using gasoline to start fires to burn tree trimmings and other debris.

Pete Fernandez Tamayo was severely burned after he used gasoline to start a pile of brush on fire outside his home on Mexican John Road just before noon Jan. 20, according to the Montgomery County Fire Marshal's Office.

Officials said Tamayo was rushed to Memorial Hermann-The Texas Medical Center, where he died the following day. He had second- and third-degrees burns over most of his body.

Investigators later determined Tamayo had doused the brush with gasoline and had attempted to light the pile on fire, but a flash fire occurred, catching his nylon clothing ablaze.

Investigators also learned Tamayo had used gasoline to start other debris fires at his home without incident.

Authorities warn residents against using gasoline or other flammable liquids to burn debris. They said vapors may build up and lighting the debris could cause an uncontrolled flash fire.