Man Sets Himself on Fire at Downtown Des Moines Library

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DES MOINES, Iowa — A man suffered serious burns after lighting himself on fire at the downtown Des Moines library Tuesday afternoon.

It happened around 2 p.m at the library located at 1000 Grand Avenue. Witnesses saw a 36-year-old man standing inside the library atrium when he doused himself in a fluid and lit himself on fire. Witnesses didn’t hear him say anything before he set himself on fire.

Des Moines Police Sgt. Paul Parizek said bystanders acted quickly and used a fire extinguisher to put out the fire in 45 seconds.

Parizek said the man suffered serious burns and was transported to the hospital.

Police have not released the man’s name but said he has an out-of-state ID.

“I can think of one other situation where I’ve seen something like this. This is extremely unusual. Definitely sad behavior. There’s got to be something more to the story. So we’re going to work with him and hopefully get him the health care he needs and then see what we need to do beyond that,” said Parizek.

Police evacuated the library to investigate the incident. They are working to figure out why the man set himself on fire.


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