North Carolina police say that a man is dead after he accidentally drank from a jar of gasoline and then lit a cigarette.

Havelock police received a 911 call about 9:55 p.m. Monday after 43-year-old Gary Allen Banning set himself on fire.

Banning was transported to UNC Burn Center in Chapel Hill, where he died early on Tuesday morning.

City spokeswoman Diane Miller said that investigators believe that Banning was at a friend’s apartment when he apparently mistook a jar of gasoline sitting by the kitchen sink for a beverage.

After taking a gulp, he spat the gas out and got some on his clothes.

Sometime later, investigators say that Banning went outside to smoke a cigarette and burst into flame.

Havelock police and the city fire marshal are continuing their investigation.

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Four young people from Sweden escaped injury when their stash of New Year’s fireworks mysteriously went off as they were driving.

Police said that the four people were returning home after buying the fireworks when the pyrotechnics suddenly ignited and began exploding inside the vehicle.

The driver stopped the car near Gislaved and all four people fled as their supply of New Year’s fireworks in the vehicle’s cab and trunk ignited, police said.

When the unexplained and unplanned display concluded, the car was nothing but a smoldering heap, Jonkoping County police said.

It is not known whether any of the people in the car were smoking when the accident happened.

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An 84-year-old Minnesota hunter caught his clothes on fire in a deer stand, then died after falling out of the tree on Saturday morning, police said.

Arthur Joseph Knafla of Maple Grove was pronounced dead at the scene. The accident occurred in Lavell Township, southeast of Hibbing.

According to the St. Louis County Sheriff’s Office, Knafla was attempting to light a propane heater in his partially enclosed deer stand when his clothes caught fire. Knafla then fell from his deer stand.

A Meadowlands ambulance responded to the incident.

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A UK woman suffered serious burns after her beehive hairdo turned into “belisha beacon”* when gust of wind caught her cigarette. Sasha Butler, 43, had just lit the cigarette outside a shop when the wind flipped it into her face, setting fire to her heavily-hairsprayed fringe.

Shoppers watched in horror as flames engulfed her head. The drama unfolded just after 12pm on Monday outside the village shop in Moreton-on-Lugg, Herefordshire while Mrs Butler was walking her dog.

She managed to smother the fire with her hands before collapsing in agony. Shop owner Benny Krige said: ”The woman got herself to the shop and collapsed, her hair still smoking. ”My staff got her comfortable, gave her some basic first aid and dialled 999.” Villagers yesterday said she was recovering in hospital.

One said: “Sasha is lovely, she’s a flamboyant personality in the village. She has light brown hair in a bob but I was told she had it in a beehive style when the accident happened. One minute she stopped to light a cigarette and the next her head was covered in flames. It must have been terrifying for her but she has family nearby and friends who will support her through this.”

Another villager, who did not want to be named, said: ”The word is she had a large beehive hairdo which went up like a belisha beacon when her fag blew back into her face. The amount of hair spray on her hair probably didn’t help matters.”

Fire crews were called but the woman had already managed to smother the blaze with her hands before they arrived. The woman was airlifted to a specialist burns unit at Birmingham’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital. She suffered burns to her head, face and smoke inhalation.

* A Belisha beacon play is an amber-coloured globe lamp atop a tall black and white pole, marking pedestrian crossings of roads in the United Kingdom, Ireland and in other countries historically influenced by Britain.

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