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Burned Napa County Inmate Set To Begin Prison Term

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(CBS)

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NAPA (BCN) — A Napa County Jail inmate who lit himself on fire in his cell Wednesday night faced a state prison sentence next week for assault with a deadly weapon, a Napa County sheriff’s captain said Thursday afternoon.

The assault occurred at Napa State Hospital, where the inmate, 29-year-old Vernon Cannon, was a patient until he was booked into the Napa County Jail on Sept. 14, county spokeswoman Elizabeth Emmett said. He was slated to start his prison sentence on Wednesday.

Cannon suffered second – and third-degree burns to his legs, sheriff’s Capt. Tracey Stuart said.

Napa City fire Capt. Conrad Perez said Cannon was burned over 60 percent of his body—including his torso, arms and hands. Jail staff used their hands to extinguish the flames.

Cannon was taken by ambulance to Queen of the Valley hospital in Napa before being flown to the University of California, Davis Medical Center, Emmett said.

The incident began when the sheriff’s office received reports of a structure fire in the jail around 7:35 p.m., sheriff’s Sgt. Doug Pace said Wednesday.

Corrections officers discovered it was actually an inmate who was on fire and were able to quickly extinguish the blaze, Napa City Fire Battalion Chief John Callanan said.

The inmate had wrapped himself in toilet paper and used a chord with a spark from a TV to ignite the toilet paper and set his clothes on fire, Callanan said.
Stuart said Cannon was alone in his cell.

The fire was contained to Cannon’s cell, but smoke from the blaze forced the evacuation of about 100 inmates from the third floor to other parts of the jail, Emmett said.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Bay City News contributed to this report.)

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