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Woman Sets Self On Fire At Mall

2nd Woman Injured Trying To Help


MIAMI -- A woman has been hospitalized after she set herself on fire inside a South Florida mall on Thursday afternoon, police said.

Witnesses said the woman, who is in her 40s, lit herself on fire inside a store at the Mall of the Americas.The 43-year-old woman, whose name was not released, doused herself with a flammable liquid at the Mall of the Americas, said Miami-Dade Fire Rescue spokesman Arnold Piedrahita. She had third-degree burns over 75 percent of her body and was found conscious in a parking lot. Authorities do not know why she set herself on fire.

She was air-lifted to a hospital.

"When she walked out of the bathroom, she was lit on fire. She was walking to the middle of the mall. People started screaming hysterically," said witness Jose Morales.

Morales said people rushed at the woman with fire extinguishers, trying to extinguish the flames that engulfed her.

"It's incredible because the woman wasn't screaming. She wasn't asking for help. She was just walking out of the mall, lit on fire," Morales said. He was about to pay for earrings for his girlfriend at a nearby kiosk when he heard screams and thought someone had fallen.

When he turned around, he saw the blaze and realized someone was within it.

"This woman is just walking like this, super slow, completely on fire," Morales said, his arms stretched out at his side to show what the woman looked like as she walked out of the store. "You couldn't see nothing but fire." He stated she was on fire about two-and-a-half minutes. All of her clothes except her underwear disappeared into ashes.

After the fire was out, witnesses said, the woman continued to walk outside the mall until paramedics stopped her. The rescuers airlifted the woman to Jackson Memorial Hospital with life-threatening injuries, Local 10's Neki Mohan reported.

A second woman was injured when she tried to help, officials said. She also was taken to a hospital.

"It's something like the movies, you know? I would've never thought in my life I would see somebody on fire and the way they were on fire and not saying, not one word," Morales said.

Officials said they do not know why the woman set herself on fire. Investigators were interviewing the woman's family Thursday afternoon.POSTED: Thursday, August 13, 2009
UPDATED: 6:04 pm EDT August 13, 2009


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Added: Aug-13-2009 Occurred On: Aug-13-2009
By: bellava
In:
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Tags: Woman, Sets, Self, On, Fire, At, Mall
Location: Miami, Florida, United States (load item map)
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