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Man Burned By Cell Phone Meltdown

Luis Picaso, 59, suffered burns over more than 50% of his body in a fire that was traced to a cell phone in his pocket.

A Vallejo, Calif. man remained hospitalized Tuesday with second and third-degree burns after a cell phone apparently caught fire in his pocket, a local newspaper reported.

According to the Vallejo Times-Herald, Luis Picaso, 59, suffered burns over more than 50% of his body in a fire at a downtown hotel Saturday night. The fire, which was contained by the hotel's sprinkler system, was traced to a cell phone in Picaso's pocket.

"It seems like this was just an accident," Bill Tweedy, fire department spokesman in the northern California city, told the newspaper. "Maybe the power button was depressed for a long time while in his pocket or there was some sort of short circuit in the phone." Tweedy refused to disclose the maker of the cell phone.

Picaso is in critical condition at UC Davis Medical Center.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued several recalls for cell phone batteries. The most recent was a March 2006 recall of about one million batteries in Kyocera phones that the commission said "pose burn hazard to consumers." A June 2004 recall of about 50,000 batteries in LG-branded phones sold by Verizon preceded the Kyocera order.

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