A 57-year-old man thought to be of Moroccan origin was taken to hospital in Málaga in critical condition Wednesday after setting fire to himself with gasoline in the street. Doctors reported that the man, identified only as A. M. A., had suffered third-degree burns to 80 percent of his body.
He was initially taken to the Carlos Haya hospital in Málaga but was later transferred by ambulance to a specialist burns unit in Seville.
Police are continuing to gather information on the incident and to contact the family of A. M. A. At around 6pm on Wednesday the man bought a pack of cigarettes and a lighter from a local vendor near the Carlos Hoya hospital. The owner of the stand said A. M. A. had appeared "more depressed than on other occasions. But he told me it wasn't anything specific; just the same as every day."
The man was in financial dire straits and told the tobacco vendor: "I don't even have money to eat." Minutes later he was engulfed in flames. Several taxi drivers who were parked nearby used fire extinguishers to subdue the blaze.
Local residents said they had seen the man in the past few weeks guiding cars to parking spaces around the hospital, a common way among the homeless of seeking small change. Police believe the man was without fixed abode and was well known in the area, but had not confirmed any details about him by Thursday evening.
Investigating officers said that an hour before the incident the man had gone to the hospital to seek treatment because he was feeling disoriented.