Man dies after accidentally drinking gasoline from salsa jar then lighting cigarette

Dylan Stableford

A 43-year-old man in North Carolina died Tuesday after drinking gasoline and lighting a cigarette, police there say.

Gary Allen Banning of Havelock, N.C., was taken to a local hospital late Monday after police responded to a 911 call from a resident reporting an apartment fire. Banning was transported to the University of North Carolina Jaycee Burn Center in Chapel Hill where he died early Tuesday. He had suffered severe burns.

According to police, Banning accidentally drank from a salsa jar containing gasoline at a friend's apartment, spitting it out and getting it on his clothes. He later lit the cigarette that ignited his clothes.

"It was just a freak incident," said W.K. Preslar, an investigator with the Havelock Police Department, told the Shelby Star newspaper.

Preslar said Banning's friend was a mechanic and used gasoline to remove grease from his hands. The carpet where Banning was standing was "charred," Preslar added.

Police do not suspect any foul play, but are awaiting toxicology results before concluding their investigation.


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