A man burned to death outside a closed Lawrence supermarket,...

A man burned to death outside a closed Lawrence supermarket, police said. (Feb. 2, 2011) Credit: Jim Staubitser

A homeless man burned to death Wednesday because the cooking cans he lit to stay warm apparently set his body on fire, Nassau police said.

The man died shortly after 2 a.m. during an ice storm at a Lawrence strip mall, police said. He was first spotted by workers on a salting truck, said police spokesman Det. Lt. Kevin Smith.

Smith said it appeared the man was trying to keep warm with two Sterno cans and was also apparently cleaning himself with some sort of wash, which ignited because it contained alcohol.

"He was badly burned, absolutely," Smith said.

The building where the accident took place, 343 Rockaway Tpke., housed a now-shuttered Glatt Kosher Kingdom supermarket.

Police were waiting for autopsy results before naming the victim, police said.

Strip mall workers feared the victim could be a homeless man, who sat and slept in the area.

In interviews, workers said the man would pay the barbers at Lawrence Unisex to trim his hair and would talk to employees.

, workers walked to the overhang, where the burned remnants of the man's possessions were scattered.

"Every day he'd sit over there, every day," beautician Christina Ulloa said, shaking her head.

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