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Gas Can Accident Burns Home, Injures

July 12, 1999

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) _ A man used a cigarette lighter to peer inside a gasoline can, setting off a fire that destroyed a mobile home and critically burned a friend.

Joseph Marvin Tompkins, 30, was trying to determine whether there was water in the gasoline can yesterday, said Fire Capt. Gregory Summers.

``He ignited the fumes that were escaping the gas can,″ Summers said. ``Once he ignited the fumes, he dropped the gas can _ he slung it really _ and threw gas on the floor, and that gas ignited.″

Tompkins suffered only minor burns on his hand. The home’s owner, Donna Harrington, and her son escaped the blaze, but Ms. Harrington, 43, was severely burned when she went back inside to rescue a dog, Summers said.

The dog died.