Nanaimo man douses himself in gasoline

Quick action by a witness likely saved the life of a Nanaimo man who doused himself with gasoline Friday night.

Quick action by a witness likely saved the life of a man who doused himself with gasoline Friday night.

The incident happened at the Wellington Pub in Nanaimo shortly before 11 p.m.

Const. Gary O’Brien, Nanaimo RCMP spokesman, said police responded to a report of a man who had doused himself in gasoline and was tackled by another man who had him pinned down to prevent him from reaching a cigarette lighter.

O’Brien said police do not know the reason the man doused himself in fuel, but his actions might have been triggered by a marital issue.

“He showed up at the pub stating he wanted to make a scene and then went into the parking lot and doused himself in gasoline,” O’Brien said.

Police seized a lighter and knife at the scene.

“His clothes and the rest of the gasoline were taken to be disposed of by Nanaimo Fire Rescue,”  O’Brien said.

Police took the suspect to Nanaimo Regional General Hospital for a psychological assessment.

Tyler Cardiff, the man who tackled the suspect, told police he heard a woman screaming and ran to the parking lot, thinking a woman was being assaulted.

Fred van Gerven, Wellington Pub owner, said according to patrons at the pub, Cardiff ran over from his home in a nearby condominium complex.

“It was one of those things where it happened so fast, by the time I was out there he was already tackled and being held down and there was quite a crowd around it,” van Gerven said.

Witnesses told van Gerven the man’s wife arrived at the pub earlier that evening. Her husband came in later, spoke with her briefly and then went outside and poured the fuel on himself.

Van Gerven said he was told the man had not been drinking.

“I feel sorry for the guy,” van Gerven said. “I hope he’s going to be alright.”