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Wheelchair-bound man dies after catching self on fire

Published On: Dec 23 2013 09:05:30 PM CST   Updated On: Dec 23 2013 11:22:40 PM CST
GRIDLEY, Calif. -

A Butte County man is dead after he caught himself on fire trying to burn  vegetation in his backyard Sunday morning.

90-year-old Glendon Burgess was in an electric wheelchair when flames caught his clothes on fire.  

Burgess suffered second to third degree burns over 60 percent of his body and was airlifted to UC Davis Medical Center where he was later pronounced dead.
"It's heartbreaking. He was a very loving guy," said Burgess' neighbor, Stacy Patton.
"I would bring my kids out and he was just an excellent neighbor," said another neighbor Jose Guyllen.

Guyllen lived next door to Burgess on the 300 block of Washington Street.
Guyllen said he started seeing smoke around 8:30 a.m.  Guyllen added Burgess was using a spray bottle with diesel fuel in it.  Some of the fuel leaked on his clothes and then lit him on fire.

"At first I thought he was just having a fire," said Guyllen.

Burgess was stranded in his wheelchair, and firefighters and paramedics rushed to the scene.   

Guyllen said that Burgess was doing agriculture burns every weekend for the past month. He also said he was a veteran and would go out of his way to help his neighbors.

"Our kids would come over just about every day and help him with stuff that he needed.  Every time he needed help, he would come over and bang on our door with a broom," said Patton.