Man who set himself on fire at hospital mentally unstable, say cops

The man who poured petrol over himself and a doctor before setting it on fire being rushed to the Penang Hospital for treatment. (Bernama pic)

GEORGE TOWN: The man who poured petrol over himself and a doctor, causing a fire in the urology unit of a private hospital in Jelutong which also injured three nurses, is mentally unstable, police said today.

Northeast district police chief ACP Che Zaimani Che Awang said the 39-year-old man who was detained, received treatment for mental illness at the Penang Hospital and is being remanded for seven days to assist in investigations.

“The man, who is single and has no permanent job, was arrested after the incident took place at 4.30pm on Monday. Based on his health record, he had received mental treatment.

“Initial investigations reveal the suspect is believed to have acted in that manner because of a mental disorder, but further investigations are ongoing,” he said here today.

He said a doctor in his 50s suffered 30% burns on his body and face while a nurse in her 30s had 5% burns. Both were being treated at the Intensive Care Unit of the Penang Hospital and are reportedly in stable condition.

Che Zaimani said a female Taiwanese patient, who was also injured was being treated at the private hospital as well, while two other nurses received outpatient treatment.

The suspect, who was also injured on his hands and body, was given treatment before his arrest, he added.

In the incident, the man had entered a room in the unit carrying a bottle of liquid believed to be petrol. He hugged a male doctor before pouring the liquid over the both of them and igniting the substance.