Havelock - Police say a man died after he accidentally drank from a jar of petrol and then smoked a cigarette.

Havelock police received an emergency call at about 9.50pm local time on Monday after 43-year-old Gary Allen Banning set himself on fire. Banning was transported to UNC Burn Centre in Chapel Hill, where he died early on Tuesday morning.

City spokesperson Diane Miller said investigators believe Banning was at a friend's apartment when he apparently mistook a jar of petrol sitting by the kitchen sink for a beverage. After taking a gulp, he spit the liquid out, but got some on his clothes.

A little while later, investigators say Banning went outside to smoke a cigarette and burst into flames.

Havelock police and the city fire marshal are continuing their investigation. - Sapa-AP