Man sets himself on fire in Australian bank and injures 26 people

21-year-old reportedly complains bank won't give him money for food before setting himself alight

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The Independent Online

A man has set himself on fire in a bank branch in Australia, causing an explosion that injured himself and 26 others.

The 21-year-old from Melbourne was reportedly heard yelling that the bank would not give him money for food, before setting himself alight.

The incident, which took place in a Commonwealth Bank of Australia branchleft the suspect and five others with serious burns while a further 21 people required medical treatment for breathing problems, the ambulance service said.

A witness told ABC News: “This kid comes running out all burnt, screaming his head off, blood everywhere. I was shocked. 

"I sprint across the road, go into Optus and get the fire extinguisher, I go inside get the fire out with this other kid and yeah, we just put the fire out.

”This worker come out the front out of nowhere, it's packed with smoke, so I said get him, go around the back see if you can get the fire exit open and get stuff out the back."

A video posted on Twitter shows the inside of the bank ablaze and smoke billowing out as people move away.

On Friday evening two of those suffering from burns were reported to be in critical condition, while another was serious but stable and three people were listed as stable.

Victoria Police Inspector Jacqui Poida said investigators had yet to determine a motive and added that it was too early to rule out extremism. 

Ms Poida said: “He had some sort of accelerant with him in a container. He walked into the bank and he lighted that accelerant which caused some sort of fire within the bank."

Country Fire Authority officer Paul Carrigg said there was “evidence of an explosion".

The man was taken to hospital in a serious condition and was under police guard, Australian police said.