.

Beach Rocks Spontaneously Combust in O.C. Woman's Pants

The 43-year-old is burned by rocks from San Onofre State Beach that mysteriously ignited. She is hospitalized with third-degree burns.

How rocks from a southern Orange County beach caught fire in the pocket of a San Clemente woman's cargo shorts, landing her in a hospital with third-degree burns, remained a mystery today.

The 43-year old woman's children picked up the seven orange and green rocks on Saturday at , which is popular with surfers and known locally as Trestles.

The rocks combusted and set the woman's shorts on fire and continued to burn the wood floor of her Avenida Estrella house, according Capt. Marc Stone of the Orange County Fire Authority.

The woman, whose name was not released, was hospitalized at Western Medical Center in Santa Ana with third-degree burns to her right thigh and knee, Stone said. He said the victim "stopped, dropped and rolled" in an effort to douse the flames, and her husband suffered second-degree burns to his hand as he tried to help.

The Orange County Health Care Agency is running tests on the rocks, but results could be days away, Stone said.

Two of the rocks were found to contain phosphorous, which can burn like a road flare when ignited, and the rest were cross-contaminated while in the woman's pocket, according to ABC7.

The rocks were smooth and some were the size of a hamburger patty, while others were small enough to fit in a coffee cup, according to news reports.

The beach where the rocks were found is not far from the and the Camp Pendleton Marine base. San Clemente Island, which lies about 20 miles off the coast, is owned by the U.S. Navy and is its only remaining live firing range, according to a Navy website. The island has also been the site of rocket tests.

Joker Joe May 18, 2012 at 04:46 PM
In the army it is called willy peter. White phosphorus. We used it in mortar shells that explode above ground. It burns through your skin like an acid. What would trigger these rocks is not a spark but when the phosphorus becomes dry it ignites. Usually it is kept in water so it does not ignite.
Mike Proctor May 18, 2012 at 06:40 PM
"San Clemente Island, which lies about 20 miles off the coast, is owned by the U.S. Navy and is its only remaining live firing range, according to a Navy website. The island has also been the site of rocket tests." ............... and what does this have to do with the story? and also, its more like 50 miles from San Onofre.
T.Spayede May 18, 2012 at 06:59 PM
Unusual this is occurring around a troubled nukelear facility in a populated area. We need to be worrying about serious precautions in a number of directions (besides sunscreen) that can preserve the health and safety of many in our area, while exposed to an incomplete system for energy...Callit PRE-planning for any SanO contingencies...ahead of time...Much better than having to be reactive after the fact of any related incidents...We can take odd clues from the universe wherever they come from...Headsup! (...while each of future generations should still only have one..). One hundred mi of concern is good point to understand, a head of time
Frieda Wales May 19, 2012 at 12:24 AM
Wow, I tried to flag this as completely inappropriate but it's still here? I will try again, or at least bring attention to the fact that some people will find this completely lacking in humor and offensive.
Peter Schelden May 19, 2012 at 12:35 AM
I always wondered where that phrase came from ("Willy Pete"). Thanks for the info.

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »