A Chattanooga man has been taken to an Augusta, Ga., burn center after his car caught fire in East Lake early today.
In a news release from the Chattanooga Fire Department, Capt. David Barie said fire crews from Station 9 were called to 4002 Clio Ave. about 5:30 a.m. and found a car engulfed in flame.
Then they noticed a burned man across the street. Lt. Andrew Waters with the fire investigation division said it appears that Mario Castro Poma, 29, had fallen asleep in the car while it was running. The car was parked over tall, dry grass and Lt. Waters believes the hot catalytic converter on the underside of the vehicle may have ignited the grass and then spread to the car.
Poma was taken to Erlanger with second- and third-degree burns over 30 to 40 percent of his body, the release said. From there he was airlifted to the Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Augusta.
Investigators with the major crimes division of the Chattanooga Police Department are assisting with the investigation, the release said.
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