A welder working on the College of Charleston's fine arts center was seriously burned Wednesday when sparks ignited his clothing, a college emergency official said.

Fire and EMS Chief Rick Krantz said the man suffered second- and third-degree burns to his arms, chest and back. He was identified as 41-year-old James Sellers, said Charles Francis, Charleston police public information officer.

Sellers was on the third-floor scaffolding when his clothes ignited shortly before 10:30 a.m. They still were on fire when Krantz arrived. Co-workers extinguished the flames with a blanket, Krantz said, and college emergency officials quickly moved Sellers to the construction office to get him out of the extreme cold and wind.

He was taken to Medical University Hospital, then flown to a burn center in Augusta, college officials said.

Sellers is believed to be a subcontractor of Brantley Construction, the general contractor for the four-story expansion of the college's arts facilities at Calhoun and St. Philip streets. Construction on the Marion and Wayland H. Cato, Jr. Center for the Arts is expected to be finished this fall.

Several streets in the area were blocked to vehicles to allow fire and EMS access to the scene, but the streets were reopened in half an hour or less. Meanwhile, students walked through to classes, and construction continued on the project. The site was not damaged.