Man Who Burned To Death At WeHo Halloween Was Trying To Light A Cigarette
An investigation into how a man burned to death at the West Hollywood Halloween Carnaval has confirmed witness accounts that he set himself on fire while lighting a cigarette, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department announced.The video from the event shows Gilbert Estrada, 51, engulfed in flames as people continue to dance and party around him; some even heckle him.
"When it first happened, people thought it was part of the show," Estrada's brother, Pablo Estrada, told LAist. "When people realized what was going on, they started putting out the flames and emergency personnel took him to the hospital."
Pablo Estrada said his brother attended the festival every year and was dressed as a sniper in camouflage. He was trying to "light some type of cigarette and accidentally caught his costume on fire," the sheriff's department said in a statement released Thursday.
The costume was made of burlap sacks and straw, the Los Angeles Times reports.
"It's really thin and flammable," Los Angeles County Sheriff's Det. Richard Biddle told The Times. "That stuff could ignite pretty fast."
According to Biddle, a bystander saw Estrada accidentally ignite the hood of his costume with a lighter. When he pulled the hood off his head, the flames spread to his back, eventually engulfing his entire body in a blaze, the bystander said.
Estrada's family has set up an online fundraising account to raise money for the funeral costs.