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Cell Phone Catches Fire, Burns Man Over Half His Body

A cell phone apparently ignited in a man's pocket and started a fire that burned his hotel room and caused severe burns over half his body, fire department officials said.

Luis Picaso, 59, of Vallejo was in stable condition Monday at UC Davis Medical Center with second and third-degree burns to his upper body, back, right arm and right leg, Vallejo Fire Department assistant chief Kurt Henke said.

Firefighters arrived at the residential hotel late Saturday night to find Picaso lying on the bathroom floor after the cell phone in Picaso's pants pocket set fire to his nylon and polyester clothes, department spokesman Bill Tweedy said.

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"It was either a malfunction or some type of glitch in his phone," Tweedy said, adding that investigators found no other possible ignition source, such as matches or open flame, nearby.

The flames spread to a plastic chair, setting off a sprinkler that held the fire in check until firefighters arrived, he said.

Authorities declined to name the manufacturer and model of the phone.

The fire and water caused $75,000 damage to the room and a business on the ground floor, Tweedy said.