Phoenix man seriously burned after group loads grocery bags of gasoline into car, causing fire

File photo of flames.
File photo of flames.(MGN)
Published: Sep. 29, 2022 at 10:34 PM MST|Updated: Sep. 30, 2022 at 10:26 AM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Police say a Phoenix man is in the hospital with serious burns after a group of men filled grocery bags with gasoline and loaded them into a car, leading to a fire on Thursday morning. Phoenix police say a vehicle was engulfed in flames near 35th Avenue and Ocotillo Road shortly after 8 a.m. Police arrived and found a man in his 40s burned near the car and rushed him to the hospital.

Officers talked to another man at the scene, who said the car was his own. He reportedly told police his vehicle was stolen by a man who burned him with an “unknown object” before stealing his car. The man’s friend allegedly witnessed the robbery and drove to follow the stolen car. The man told police he followed them while walking and found his car on fire, along with his friend who’d been badly burned.

However, police soon found out the man’s story wasn’t adding up. Witnesses at the scene reportedly told police a third man was involved, but he didn’t match the suspect’s description. Police confronted the man, who confessed to making up the elaborate story with his friends.

Police later found out the victim had asked his two friends to get gasoline since one of their cars was empty. The men filled several plastic grocery bags with gasoline before loading them into their car. They then picked up the victim and drove where the second vehicle was parked. However, before they arrived, the bags of gasoline ignited with the three men inside the car, causing the vehicle to erupt in flames.

The victim is in extremely critical condition, while another man had minor burns. No one has been arrested. The investigation is ongoing.