MIAMI (CBS4) – A Miami man was transported to Jackson Memorial Hospital’s Ryder Trauma Center in extremely critical condition Saturday after suffering burns to much of his body following an explosion.
Miami Fire Rescue was called to a home in the 2900 block of SW 4 Street just before 4 p.m. after neighbors reported a car on fire.
When firefighters arrived, they found a man engulfed in flames, according to Miami Fire Rescue spokesman Lt. Ignatius Carroll.
“Everybody was screaming, ‘Oh my God, somebody caught fire’,” neighbor Michael Serantes recalled.
He captured video of the aftermath on his cell phone camera. The images show flames coming from the car and a subsequent explosion. The video did not show the man.
“The man was on fire from head to toe,” neighbor Mildred Quintana said “He was just walking back and forth. I think he was in shock.”
Miami Fire Rescue officials said the man was visiting the home to see his estranged wife.
Her relatives said the two were never legally married.
“When he found out that his wife wasn’t here, he was going to go talk with the father in law,” Lt. Carroll said. “The father in law saw him leave to his car and then moments later he saw a car that was engulfed in flames.”
Witnesses said someone started hosing the man down.
Investigators are looking in to the possibility that the fire was not an accident.
“We’re not sure if this was an attempt on his life, if he was trying to commit suicide,” Lt. Carroll said. “He did chant out that he was trying to take his life according to the wife’s father.”
The explosion brought down a power line and knocked out power to the home.
Two other cars were damaged and the man’s Toyota Camry was destroyed.
No one else was hurt, but neighbors say what they saw was traumatic.
“It was horrible. Seeing someone walk in flames? I don’t know. I hope he’s all right. I hope he makes it,” Quintana said.
Investigators collected evidence from inside the man’s vehicle to check if he may have doused himself in some kind of flammable liquid.
Authorities have not released the man’s identity.