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    Japanese junior high school principal burns to death in methanol accident

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    A Japanese school principal died from burns suffered over 75 percent of his body after using a highly volatile chemical to burn yard waste.

    Koushi Araya, 58, was the headmaster at Seikou public middle school in Tsu, Mie Prefecture. The incident took place this past Sunday in a field near his home as he was lighting a fire with methanol to dispose of garden waste.

    Araya obtained the methanol from his wife, vice-principal of Sakakibara municipal primary school. She brought the surplus methanol home with permission from her school.

    Methanol is usually used in school science labs for science experiments. It is considered so volatile that waste disposal companies are normally called in to dispose of surplus quantities.

    Araya was using the fuel to burn yard waste in a rice paddy near his home when the wind kicked up and blew the flames onto his clothing.

    His wife and neighbors soon noticed the blaze and attempted to extinguish it, but he had already suffered third-degree burns to his entire body. He was rushed to the hospital in critical condition, where he fell into a coma and couldn't be revived.

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