A viral video featuring a man who reportedly set himself on fire while on campus at University of California-Berkeley was released online Wednesday.
The man was allegedly experiencing a “severe mental health episode” while on campus at the University of California at Berkeley and was telling first-responders and bystanders to “leave [him] alone,” the New York Post reported.
A video of the incident, which has garnered nearly 9 million views, was shared to Twitter.
“Took my son on a recruitment visit for UC Berkeley football and saw this after we got lunch,” wrote the video’s original poster.
Took my son on a recruitment visit for UC Berkeley football and saw this after we got lunch pic.twitter.com/Gli0r1gK1T
— Joe Fasho (@JoeFash0) March 2, 2023
In the video the man on fire is seen running through the plaza as some bystanders attempt to swat the fire out. One bystander can be heard repeatedly yelling “roll on the ground” as another bystander grabs a bicycle and throws it at the man engulfed in flames.
“Get on the ground!” the bystander yells as others continue their attempt to extinguish the man who appears to be unfazed by the fire.
The man was eventually doused with a fire extinguisher by a local business owner.
“Ya I don’t know why he threw the bike either lol,” the original poster said, responding to users questioning one student’s decision to throw a bike at the man on fire.
Authorities were informed of the incident at 4:17 p.m. after the man was seen walking around engulfed in flames at Sproul Plaza on campus, per the Post.
The man was taken to Highland Hospital in Oakland shortly after the UC-Berkeley Police Department and Berkeley firefighters arrived on scene. The victim’s identity and possible affiliation with the university is unknown according to nonprofit news website Berkeleyside. However, the man is believed to be in his 20s and has sustained second- and third-degree burns over most of his body, according to the Berkeley Scanner.
“Apparently he was shouting ‘Mormon Mafia’ and, when I ran up to try to put out the fire, he was running away from us and pushing us away,” said witness Rachel Diao. “I could feel the heat coming off of him and I saw his skin and clothes burn off.”
Another witness told Berkeleyside the man seemed “indifferent” about being on fire though appeared to be combative with bystanders around him.
One bystander in her forties was reportedly hospitalized with minor injuries, and another bystander was treated for burns at the scene after attempting to help the victim, per the New York Post.