Year: 1989 Source: Journal of Forensic Sciences, v. 34, (1989), p.399-406 SIEC No: 20030080

The paper retrospectively reviews 80 burn fatalities from accidents or attempted suicides. Patients admitted to the LAC-USC Medical Center from 1983-1987 were studied to determine demographic factors, etiology of the burn injury, & existence of predisposing risk factors. The average age of fatal burn victims was 44 years; 74% were males. Blacks & Causcasians were overrepresented & Hispancis underrepresented in relation to all autopsy cases. Major etiologic factors included suicide, falling aspleep while smoking, accidents while working with volatile solvents, housefires, scalds, cooking accidents, & accidents involving motor vehicles. Gasoline was the commonest solvent involved with burn fatalities. Significant risk factors for burn fatality were substance abuse & impaired mental function. (13 refs)