Burning rocks source suspected, but not made public

In an update to one of the most interesting stories of last year, there may be a definitive answer about the cause of the burning beach rocks but we are not being told what that is.

Burning-rocks victim calls her recovery amazing – Fire Engineering.

Seven months after being burned by rocks that ignited in her shorts pocket, Lyn Hiner is headed to a full recovery and hopes to put the freak accident behind her.

The rocks were found near Upper Trestles on San Onofre State Beach on May 12, when Hiner and her daughters walked the beach looking for interesting rocks. The 43-year-old woman put the items into her pockets and had returned home a few hours later when the rocks suddenly ignited. The land, property of the Camp Pendleton Marine base, is operated by state park rangers, and the rocks were taken from San Diego County.

Orange County Public Health Services suspected the rocks were tainted with phosphorous. An independent state lab confirmed the phosphorous. In June, Camp Pendleton officials announced that the base would investigate. An internal report will not be made public, Capt. Barry Edwards said Thursday.

Officials from other involved agencies, including OC Public Heath, California State Parks and San Diego County Public Health, have not received any information from the Marine base.

It was suspected from the beginning that the substance on the rocks, white phosphorus, had its origin in military munitions. The location made sense. But this is not being announced to the public. The article describes Hiner’s ordeal and mentions it could have been much worse. No additional material was found on the beach but one person noted that military flares had been seen washed up in the past. Offshore exercises or dumping could be a source of material but it appears we won’t know.

Rocks found on beach. Note yellow substance.

Rocks found on beach. Note yellow substance.

Thanks to Jeb Card for tip

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  1 comment for “Burning rocks source suspected, but not made public

  1. Paul Robinson
    January 2, 2013 at 8:14 AM

    Phosphorous & other munitions are a common problem, washing up on Irish Sea coasts, particularly in Northern Ireland. Masses of unwanted munitions were dumped in the Beaufort Dyke, in the Irish Sea’s North Channel, after the Second World War. Many are washed ashore after storms, especially along the Antrim coast.

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