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Ignited bags of gasoline leave Phoenix man severely burned

A man is in extremely critical condition after bags of gasoline ignited for an unknown reason.

PHOENIX — A man is in the hospital with severe burns after a vehicle catches fire in Phoenix Thursday.

Officers responded to a crash near 35th Avenue and Ocotillo Road, the Phoenix Police Department said. Initial reports indicated that a vehicle was on fire with a man nearby. 

Officers reportedly found the man with significant burns to his body and a vehicle in flames. Fire crews responded to the scene and rushed the man to the hospital with life-threatening injuries.

Officers on the scene spoke with the owner of the vehicle who had suffered minor burns. He reportedly said his vehicle was stolen by an unknown man who allegedly burned him with an unknown object before taking his car. 

A friend of the vehicle owner told police he witnessed the robbery and followed the stolen car in his vehicle. According to police, the owner also followed on foot and found his vehicle on fire, along with his friend with severe burns.

A further investigation by detectives revealed inconsistencies with the owner’s story. Witnesses also told detectives there was a third man involved but he did not match the suspect’s description. 

With the new information in hand, detectives confronted the owner and he admitted to making up the story with his friends.

Police said detectives found out the victim asked the owner and another man to get gasoline since one of their vehicles ran out of gas. 

The men reportedly filled multiple heavy-duty plastic grocery bags with gasoline from a gasoline station. They then drove to the disabled car's location after they picked up the victim from his home. 

Before they arrived at the car, the bags of gasoline allegedly ignited with the three men inside. The incident caused the vehicle to ignite, but what initially caused the ignition was not immediately known.

Authorities said the victim is still in the hospital in extremely critical condition. The other two men did not require any further medical attention. 

The investigation continues to be active and no arrests have been made.

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