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  1. #1
    Senior Member hotbike's Avatar
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    Bicyclist Catches on Fire and Dies

    This happened right here on Long Island, where I live. It has to be one of the weirdest stories I've heard in a while. Spontaneous Human Combustion? Anyone care to speculate?

    While riding bike in Bethpage, man catches fire, dies

    http://www.newsday.com/news/printedi...,3573583.story

    Quote:
    BY BILL MASON AND MATTHEW CHAYES
    March 13, 2009
    "An elderly man who was apparently smoking a cigarette while riding his bicycle home died yesterday after his clothes caught fire on a residential Bethpage street, officials said.

    Joseph Rusin, 87, of Bethpage, was seen by a passing motorist at noon engulfed in flames and rolling on the ground on the front lawn of a home on Burkhardt Avenue, police said.

    The motorist, a FedEx driver, used a fire extinguisher from his truck to put out the flames, officials said..."
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/11629987@N02/sets/72157639939606343/

  2. #2
    Lug
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    Strike anywhere wooden matches carried loose in pocket. Heads rubbed together while pedaling.
    Justin

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    People's clothes catch fire from cigarettes all the time. Doesn't seem very strange to me.

  4. #4
    Senior Member hotbike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lug View Post
    Strike anywhere wooden matches carried loose in pocket. Heads rubbed together while pedaling.
    Justin
    That could do it, but, you can't buy strike-anywhere matches on Long Island.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/11629987@N02/sets/72157639939606343/

  5. #5
    Senior Member CollectiveInk's Avatar
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    How about he had been working on his bike, like many folks do, used kerosene for cleaning the chain, got some on his hands, rubbed it on his shirt, finished and went to test ride his bike, hot ember from the cigarette landed on the shirt... voila. I can't see smoking, much less smoking and riding a bike.

    Regardless of how it happened, it is tragic.
    Tim
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  6. #6
    Twincities MN kuan's Avatar
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    Smoking is hazardous to your health. If lung cancer doesn't get you something else will.

    What a horrible way to die.

  7. #7
    Yabba-Dabba-Doo! AlmostTrick's Avatar
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    Tragic for sure. RIP old rider.

    On a much lighter note, while walking to school in the winter one of the guys cupped his cigarette in his jacket pocket to keep his hand warm. Yep, started his jacket on fire. The fact that most of us in our group didn't smoke made it all the funnier watching him yank off his jacket and stomp it out on the ground!
    Have Bike, Will Travel

  8. #8
    Senior Member randya's Avatar
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    BIC lighter accident

    or just the cigarette could do it, I almost set my garage and my compost pile on fire on two separate occassions with smoldering butts back when I smoked


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    Sounds like to me he didn't "stop, drop, and roll" in the proper order.

    Instead, while riding his bike he rolled, once he caught on fire he stopped, and then when fully engulfed he merely dropped.

  10. #10
    Senior Member hotbike's Avatar
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    This being a freak accident surely does not detract from the tragedy of it. It's very sad that he died , very sad.

    I remember one other accident like this, it was like thirty years ago. I saw a man at the mall, stuffing a pipe full of tobacco. When he lit it, a piece of burning tobacco fell into his shirt pocket. The fire was confined to his shirt pocket.

    When I was in the Navy, we were told that the carrier's flight deck dress code is "cotton only". Cotton does not burn as fast as synthetics, and when synthetic fabrics burn, they melt and stick to the skin. I can imagine it would be very painful to have to have melted plastic scraped off of one's skin, before the burns can be treated.
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/11629987@N02/sets/72157639939606343/

  11. #11
    location:northern Ohio
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    smoke naked
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

  12. #12
    www.theheadbadge.com cudak888's Avatar
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    I'm surprised that I've seen any sympathy at all from the usual jerks here at A&S. I applaud those who have shown their human side with proper condolences.

    ...and then again, responses like spry's quickly serve to remind you that the precious few on this forum who retain any humanity are overshadowed by the mob of all mouth and no brains.

    -Kurt
    Last edited by cudak888; 03-13-09 at 04:31 PM.

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    I can imagine it would be very painful to have to have melted plastic scraped off of one's skin, before the burns can be treated.
    I once fell while riding a board track in a rubberized skinsuit. The friction melted bits of the suit into my arse, which hurt exactly as much as you'd think it would. Still have the scar...

  14. #14
    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hotbike View Post
    This happened right here on Long Island, where I live. It has to be one of the weirdest stories I've heard in a while. Spontaneous Human Combustion? Anyone care to speculate?

    While riding bike in Bethpage, man catches fire, dies

    http://www.newsday.com/news/printedi...,3573583.story

    Quote:
    BY BILL MASON AND MATTHEW CHAYES
    March 13, 2009
    "An elderly man who was apparently smoking a cigarette while riding his bicycle home died yesterday after his clothes caught fire on a residential Bethpage street, officials said.

    Joseph Rusin, 87, of Bethpage, was seen by a passing motorist at noon engulfed in flames and rolling on the ground on the front lawn of a home on Burkhardt Avenue, police said.

    The motorist, a FedEx driver, used a fire extinguisher from his truck to put out the flames, officials said..."
    That is not spontaneous human combustion. That is complete and utter stupidity, that was fatal.

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    That's how I want to go out: 87, on my bike, in a ball of flames.

  16. #16
    www.theheadbadge.com cudak888's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris516 View Post
    That is complete and utter stupidity, that was fatal.
    How the hell do you know that it was caused by stupidity?

    The article refuses to claim that he was definitely smoking a cigarette at the time, only "probably" - and even then, there is nothing to conclude that the cigarette use was a cause of the fire (enough motorists spill hot ashes on their crotch without burning up in their cage).

    For all anyone knows, he might have been splashed with gas by some passing teenage punks and set aflame.

    -Kurt

  17. #17
    tilt head to right Alpha52's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SPlKE View Post
    That's how I want to go out: 87, on my bike, in a ball of flames.
    LMAO at that one! It must have been the bottle of Bacardi's 151 he consumed before riding.

    I actually had a similar incident when I was 16. I was hitch hiking and a pickup truck stopped for me. I put my newly lite cigarette out and put it in my shirt pocket. At about 50 MPH I realized that my shirt was on fire. I banged on the truck window to get the driver to stop, but it took him about 1/4 mile to back it down, and by then I was sufficiently burned to warrant a trip to the emergency room.

    Second degree burns on my nipple got lots of laughs from all involved.

    Strange but absolutely true...

  18. #18
    Senior Member Shimagnolo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by randya View Post
    BIC lighter accident
    I knew a guy who was sitting in his living room reading the paper, when his dog started acting up and wouldn't behave. After warning the dog verbally w/o results, he threw a BIC lighter at the dog, hitting it in the butt, at which point the lighter exploded like a flash-bang grenade.

    There was no damage, but a nice side-effect was that after that, all he had to do was lift his arm like he was going to throw, and the dog would immediately obey.

  19. #19
    Senior Member
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    If smoking can take so many years off your life, presumably riding a bike had added plenty, 87 seems a ripe old age. Still, horrible way to go, poor feller.

  20. #20
    Senior Member GodsBassist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris516 View Post
    That is not spontaneous human combustion. That is complete and utter stupidity, that was fatal.
    I'd have to disagree with this. Smoking while biking isn't complete and utter stupidity. You might say that about smoking. Some people might say that about biking outside a path. But the poor old man definitely won't qualify for the Darwin's by a long shot.

  21. #21
    24-Speed Machine Chris516's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cudak888 View Post
    How the hell do you know that it was caused by stupidity?

    The article refuses to claim that he was definitely smoking a cigarette at the time, only "probably" - and even then, there is nothing to conclude that the cigarette use was a cause of the fire (enough motorists spill hot ashes on their crotch without burning up in their cage).

    For all anyone knows, he might have been splashed with gas by some passing teenage punks and set aflame.

    -Kurt
    Considering the fact that, spontaneous human combustion while not unheard of, is rare. Also, The fact of his smoking, outright. Finally, Smoking while riding his bike. Smoking on a bike, is just as dangerous(if not moreso) as smoking in a car.

    The article does say that his clothes caught fire. The closest fire source was the cigarette.

    Not only is ones' senses distracted by the need to hold the cigarette to keep being able to get the nicotine fix. They are distracted by the very need of a nicotine fix in the first place, even before lighting the cigarette.

    Drivers who smoke, get no respect from me when, they have lit up and, are pounding on the horn to get me out of the way.

    Cyclists who smoke, while riding their bike, don't get any respect from me, either.
    Last edited by Chris516; 03-15-09 at 02:21 PM.

  22. #22
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris516 View Post
    Also, The fact of his smoking, outright. Finally, Smoking while riding his bike. Smoking on a bike, is just as dangerous(if not moreso) as smoking in a car.

    The article does say that his clothes caught fire. The closest fire source was the cigarette.

    Not only is ones' senses distracted by the need to hold the cigarette to keep being able to get the nicotine fix. They are distracted by the very need of a nicotine fix in the first place, even before lighting the cigarette.

    Drivers who smoke, get no respect from me when, they have lit up and, are pounding on the horn to get me out of the way.

    Cyclists who smoke, while riding their bike, don't get any respect from me, either.
    Pompous/Arrogant/Sanctimonious Jackasses don't get any respect from me.

  23. #23
    Senior Member smittie61984's Avatar
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    Pretty weird. I don't see a simple cigarette just catching his clothes on fire. My best guess is he may have been drinking some strong liquor and spilt some on himself. And happend to ash his cigarette on to it.

    I'm not claiming he was drinking for sure, but from what I have seen if someone is smoking and riding a bicycle my guess is they are on the bicycle because they have absolutely no choice. Either a DUI that took his license or just plain piss poor and can't afford a car.

    Sounds like a freak accident. Despite smoking is stupid and it's pretty obvious smoking caused this somehow. I wouldn't classify this as some darwin award. Just crap luck.

  24. #24
    Old Fogy
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    Pompous/Arrogant/Sanctimonious Jackasses don't get any respect from me.

    Especially when they are unable to write coherently.

  25. #25
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    According to myth busters wool clothing doesn't burn or melt. Another reason to buy overpriced wool jerseys?

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