PLEASANT HILL -- A homeless man who was badly burned while trying to stay warm on a cold January night has died.
Jon Dewitt died Tuesday from burns suffered in a Jan. 14 tent fire at Contra Costa and Taylor boulevards in Pleasant Hill. DeWitt, 57, had lit a candle inside a nylon tent at about 4:20 a.m., when temperature was about 31 degrees.
The candle lit the tent on fire, and DeWitt suffered severe burns on his legs, torso and arms. He was airlifted to UC Davis Firefighters Burn Institute Regional Burn Center, where he'd been recovering, according to Pleasant Hill resident Sydney Brannaman.
Brannaman, who said she befriended DeWitt because he often hung out close to her neighborhood and home, said DeWitt suffered an infection about a week ago. He died Tuesday morning, the Sacramento County coroner said.
Brannaman said DeWitt chose to live a transient, even though she offered to house him in one of her rooms. She said he spent two years in the military and struggled with ringing in his ears upon his return. She estimated he had been homeless for at least a decade.
"He wasn't a drug addict. He wasn't a thief," she said. "He just was a regular guy struggling to deal with his issues. I had helped to get him medical care, and things were starting to turn around."