Impoverished Málaga man who set fire to himself dies

Police have not ruled out possibility immolation was accidental

The 57-year-old man who set himself on fire in Málaga Thursday died of his injuries at Carlos Haya hospital, health officials said Friday. He had third-degree burns on 80 percent of his body and suffered a multi-organ failure.

The victim, thought to be of Moroccan origin, had worked in construction for years but was out of a job now, said people who knew him. In the last few months he had been scraping a living with the small change he made guiding cars into parking spaces near the hospital, an illegal practice that is usually overlooked by authorities.

The police, who have not yet located his relatives, are not ruling out the possibility of an accident just as the man was lighting up a cigarette. Just two minutes before the event, he bought a pack of cigarettes from a local newsstand whose owner asked him how he was doing.

“I don’t even have enough money for food,” he replied. The man is thought to have been homeless at the present time, and seemed even more depressed than on other occasions, said the stand owner.

Several taxi drivers came to the rescue with their vehicles’ fire extinguishers when they saw the man go up in flames on a side street from the hospital. A few hours after being admitted into the emergency room there, he was transferred to a specialized burn unit in Seville, where doctors were unable to save his life.

 

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