WEST HOLLYWOOD (CBSLA.com) — Authorities said Wednesday that a man who died after being engulfed in flames at the Halloween Carnaval in West Hollywood accidentally lit himself on fire.
Officials said Gilbert Estrada, who was dressed in a mossy, homemade Loch Ness monster costume, was trying to light a cigarette when the fire quickly overcame him.
Estrada was injured just before 10:30 p.m. on Halloween night and died the following morning at Cedars-Sinai Hospital.
The 51-year-old Estrada was among more than 400,000 people attending the annual event.
A video of the tragedy posted on YouTube showed a ball of flame erupting at the back of a large crowd watching performances on the “Pulp Friction” stage on Santa Monica Boulevard.
The tw0-minute video shows Estrada engulfed in flames and flailing. He then moves onto the grassy median of the boulevard, where he collapses.
At first, people can be heard cheering Estrada on, thinking he was part of the festivities.
Moments later, several bystanders realize Estrada is actually in trouble and try to douse the flames — at this point reaching as high as five feet off the ground — with their bare hands.
An autopsy was conducted by the Los Angeles County coroner’s office, but its findings were deferred, pending toxicology results, said LA County sheriff’s Lt. John Corina.
Estrada’s family set up a GofundMe page to help raise $11,000 for funeral and burial expenses. So far they have raised more than $3,600.