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Man found engulfed in flames in wheelchair

June 19, 2009 5:12:10 AM PDT
A man's partially burned body was found next to a wheelchair in South L.A. early Friday morning, but police do not suspect foul play.Police arrived at a strip mall on the 1800 block of West Manchester Avenue, near Western Avenue, at about 2:45 a.m. after a passerby reported seeing a man on fire in a wheelchair.

When authorities arrived, the man's body lay lifeless, about 15 feet away from the entrance of a pizza restaurant at the strip mall.

Police said there was no evidence of a struggle or any kind of robbery attempt. While the cause of death has not yet been determined, police believe the man's death was accidental. Police say the man was a smoker and may have accidentally set his clothes on fire.

Police said they found liquor and a candle near the victim's body.

The victim was a 54-year-old who was often seen panhandling in the area.

"There was a bracelet on his arm. It appears that he just may have come from the hospital recently," said LAPD Capt. Lance Smith.

Police said there is a surveillance camera at the strip mall, and detectives are hoping that it was operational and that it will show what happened early Friday morning. Police have not yet been in contact with the business owner to see the surveillance video.

Anyone with information is urged to call the LAPD at (877) LAPD-24-7.

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