Monday 19 February 2018

Shoppers terrified as man tries to set himself on fire in busy supermarket


Jane O'Faherty

Shoppers and staff were left terrified when a man entered a supermarket, doused himself in fuel and threatened to set himself on fire.

Fire crews, an unmarked Garda car and paramedics hurried to the scene at Tesco in Rush, Co Dublin, as the drama unfolded just after 1pm on Saturday.

One eyewitness told the Irish Independent that the man - a non-Irish national in his 40s - appeared to be calm before he approached the deli counter, where he began to pour fuel over himself and on the floor.

A shop worker ran for the security guard, who bravely attempted to reason with the man and convince him to go outside to talk.

The security guard then tackled the man and pushed him out a fire exit, where a fire lighter and matches were taken off him. "We could hear a staff member calling all managers to the deli - then staff were running for fire extinguishers," she said. "Then she was asking customers to evacuate the shop.

"The man was fumbling with the lighter. I think the only reason he couldn't light the fire is because his hands were wet.

"If he had lit himself on fire, the two women working behind the deli would have been trapped in there," the eyewitness added.

The man was later taken to Beaumont Hospital in an ambulance, where he was expected to be assessed by mental health specialists.

A Tesco spokeswoman said staff and a security guard responded quickly to help the "customer in distress" whilst maintaining security in the store.

Irish Independent

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