West Memphis man accidentally sets self on fire, dies

WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. — A man in West Memphis accidentally set himself on fire and died from his injuries, and now a neighborhood is left in mourning.

Just before 6 p.m. Friday, police said James Brown somehow caught himself on fire, and they don't think he did it on purpose.

Neighbors said he came outside covered in flames, and first responders had to extinguish the flames. But by then, Brown was burned so bad that he could not respond to them.

When WREG visited the house Saturday, burn marks were still visible on the door and the ground—signs of Brown's struggle.

Neighbors still said they didn't give up on him.

"Everybody was hoping he'd pull through, that's James Brown," neighbor Tony Morris said.

Morris said he went outside to learn what was going on Friday when he heard the commotion.

"It’s hard to accept because James Brown, you see him every day," Morris said.

Brown's dog Bo stuck closer to him than anyone else, and on Saturday we found him still waiting on his owner to come home.

Bobo Faulkner said he had known Brown for 42 years.

"We're gonna miss him, but as soon as God call you, it is time to go," Faulkner said.

A friend told us he'll miss Brown's giant personality and listening to the blues underneath his carport with the man of many talents.

People in the area said not only did he share a name with the entertainer James Brown, but he also had a big personality like the legend.

"Anybody in West Memphis, everyone knew James Brown," another friend said. "Kind of like the real James Brown."

Notice: you are using an outdated browser. Microsoft does not recommend using IE as your default browser. Some features on this website, like video and images, might not work properly. For the best experience, please upgrade your browser.