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Woman Pours Alcohol on Body and Accidentally Sets Herself on Fire

An elderly woman has died after accidentally setting herself on fire, according to a report.

The 71-year-old from the town of Yecla in southeastern Spain had applied rosemary alcohol to various parts of her body in an attempt to cool down amid high summer temperatures.

But immediately afterward, she lit a cigarette, an act that led to the alcohol on her body catching fire, local media outlet La Opinión de Murcia reported.

The woman was rushed to a hospital having suffered severe burns, but doctors were not able to save her and she died on Thursday morning. Her body was subsequently transferred to the Institute of Legal Medicine and Forensic Sciences in the nearby city of Murcia for an autopsy.

A woman holding a lighter
Stock image of a woman holding a lighter. An elderly woman has died after accidentally setting herself on fire, according to a report.

Rosemary alcohol has been used as a traditional remedy for centuries in some parts of the world to alleviate stiffness, cramps, muscle and joint pain, as well as other ailments.

The liquid has also been used to provide a sensation of coolness in hot weather as applying alcohol to the skin makes it feel cooler. This can be explained by a process known as evaporative cooling. Alcohol vaporizes much faster than sweat, and as it evaporates, it pulls heat away from the skin, producing a refreshing sensation.

But applying alcohol to the skin can come with risks, as the incident involving the 71-year-old woman demonstrates.

The woman’s death is not the only recent incident in which people have accidentally set themselves on fire.

In January, a man in Santa Rosa, California, died under such circumstances, CBS Bay Area reported.

Surveillance footage from a nearby business provided a clear picture of what happened to the man, who was thought to be homeless.

In the footage, the man can be seen at the rear of the business using a lighter—to consume what officials believed to be narcotics—before slumping to the ground and seemingly falling asleep.

Soon after, the man’s clothes catch fire and he is unable to extinguish the flames. A Santa Rosa fire crew arrived at the scene and extinguished the blaze, but the man was pronounced dead at the scene.

In June 2022, a suspected gas thief in Utah was captured on video setting himself on fire, Salt Lake City NBC affiliate KSL-TV reported. The person allegedly used a drill in an attempt to siphon gas from a truck in Salt Lake City.

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