Lawyer's pants catch fire during Florida trial

Indo Asian News Service

Washington, March 10 (IANS) Florida defence attorney Stephen Gutierrez's pants caught fire during an arson trial on Wednesday, Eleventh Circuit Court Public Relations Director Eunice Sigler said on Thursday.

According to NBC News, 28-year-old Gutierrez was in the Miami-Dade county courtroom defending 49-year-old Claudy Charles, who was accused of setting his car alight.

But during his closing argument, Gutierrez began to feel heat coming from his pocket where he had several electric cigarette batteries.

As Gutierrez argued Charles' car had merely spontaneously combusted, the lawyer's pants seemed to do the same.

Witnesses in the courtroom told the Miami Herald the moment was "surreal," as Gutierrez rushed out of the courtroom while smoke billowed from his pocket.

Gutierrez said as the heat intensified, he hurried into the bathroom where he tossed the battery in water. He was able to return to the courtroom with a singed pocket.

"No one thinks that a battery left in their pocket is somehow going to 'explode. After careful research, I now know this can happen. I am not the only one this has happened to, but I am in a position to shed light on the situation," Gutierrez said.

Reports of electronic cigarette batteries exploding have been documented across the country.

--IANS

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