The State Fire Marshal’s Office says a state representative from Winthrop was seriously burned this morning attempting to start a brush pile fire on his property.

According to Maine Department of Public Safety Spokesman Steve McCausland, fire investigators said Craig Hickman was using gasoline to start the fire  when gas vapors caught his clothing on fire.  McCausland said Hickman was burned on his legs and chest and was first taken to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston by ambulance, and later flown by the Lifeflight helicopter to Maine Medical in Portland.

The fire took place about 9:30 a.m. behind Hickman’s home on Annabessacook Road, McCausland said.  After being injured, a friend of Hickman attempted to drive him to the Augusta hospital but they stopped at the new Winthrop Fire Station and called for help.  Winthrop Police and Winthrop EMS responded, as the fire station is not manned full time, according to McCausland.

Fire investigators, aided by Maine Forest Rangers, say Hickman poured a small amount of gasoline on the brush pile and then lit a cardboard egg carton and placed it on the pile.  That's when the vapors from the gasoline exploded, McCausland said.