Two people were in critical condition and four others suffered serious burns when a man set himself on fire in a bank in Melbourne, Australia earlier this week.
The 21-year-old man, one of the critically injured patients, walked into Commonwealth Bank in the Melbourne bank carrying flammable accelerant and started a fire about 11:30 am AEDT.
The man picked up a large plastic container and walked towards the banks minutes before the fire. Detective are unsure of motive. One witness claimed the man complained about having “no money for food.”
Reports suggest the man is from Myanmar, and the Herald Sun reports the man lived in Australia on a bridging visa. He arrived in Australia by boat three years ago.
The president of the Australian Burmese Rohingya Organisation, Habib Habib, told the Melbourne Age: “He has been suffering and his friends say his welfare payment was not received and he couldn’t pay his rent.”
Mr Habib said: “This system makes all of them crazy. They’re in legal limbo.”
Customers were blinded by black smoke and trapped by flames when the blaze broke out. Passer-by rushed into to assist. Other than the two critically injured and four seriously injured people, four others were taken to the Hospital for moderate burns and three others in stable condition. 21 others, including a toddler and 80 year old man, were taken to the hospital for respiratory problems.
The suspect was apprehended by police in a rear laneway of the bank after the fire broke out .
“I ran across the road to Optus, grabbed the fire extinguisher and tried to put the fire out,” Witness Ashley Atkin-Fone said.