San Diego

Jack-O'-Lantern Ignites Man's Costume, Turns Him Into ‘Fireball'

The San Carlos resident told San Diego Fire-Rescue Department officials he was carrying a lit pumpkin, while wearing a Halloween costume, when his costume caught on fire

A San Diego man dressed up for Halloween Thursday night suffered major burn injuries when a candle inside his jack-o'-lantern lit his costume on fire, turning him into a walking "fireball."

The man was wearing a ghillie suit, a camaflouge-type, full-body suit covered in leaves or straw, meant to help snipers blend in with foliage in the wild.

San Diego Fire-Rescue Battalion Chief Rick Ballard told NBC 7 the man was carrying a pumpkin with a lit candle inside, while sporting the costume, at his home on Clear Sky Trail in the San Carlos area.

Then, something terrible happened.

“The costume caught on fire and he said he went up like a fireball,” Ballard explained.

The flames crept up the man's feet and legs and then spread to his garage. Firefighters were at the scene within minutes, before the flames could spread to the rest of the home, Ballard said.

"It ignited the costume, caught the costume on fire, and it went up very quickly," Ballard added.

Family members who witnessed the "fireball" incident were able to put out the flames and help get the victim out of his costume. After he was stripped of the burning suit, he was put into a robe.

The victim ended up suffering third-degree burns to the majority of his feet and legs, Ballard confirmed, and also some burns to his upper-body.

The man was taken to a nearby hospital. Firefighters were able to knock out the blaze in the garage within about 10 minutes.

Ballard said Halloween costumes, many made with flammable materials, can lead to situations like this. 

“It’s very dangerous, with all the materials costumes are made of – a lot of them, you know, people put together – they’re not fire retardant," he told NBC 7. "When you get exposed to flame, it can catch on very rapidly, melt upon people. A lot of burns are caused and could be caused from different costumes and materials."

As of Friday morning, the man's condition was unknown. His name was not released by officials.

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