By Calvin Palmer
A woman turned herself into a human fireball this afternoon at a mall in Miami.
The 43-year-old doused herself with a flammable liquid at the Mall of the Americas, said Miami-Dade Fire Rescue spokesman Arnold Piedrahita.
Witness Jose Morales, 24, said the woman set fire to herself outside the Savage Boutique store.
“This woman is just walking like this, super slow, completely on fire,” Morales said. “You couldn’t see nothing but fire.”
The woman was on fire about two-and-a-half minutes. All of her clothes except her underwear disappeared into ashes.
“She looked like a human torch, on fire from head to toe,” said Santiago Castro, who manages a travel agency inside the mall.
Some shoppers ran for safety. Others thought it was a stunt and started photographing the woman with their cellphones.
Castro, along with two other people, grabbed fire extinguishers and followed her out to the parking lot where they managed to put out the flames. The woman was still conscious.
She suffered third-degree burns over 75 percent of her body and was airlifted to the Ryder Trauma Center where her condition was described as critical.
Police believe the woman tried to commit suicide. She has not been identified.
Two men and a woman who tried to help her were taken to hospital with minor injuries.
The mall remained closed as Miami-Dade Police Department’s arson unit investigated the incident.