UPDATE: Cmdr. Beau Pryor of the Arroyo Grande Police Department says the man, who remains unidentified, has been transported by ambulance to the Grossman Burn Center at Sherman Oaks Hospital.
The department has reported its investigation to the San Luis Obispo County Mental Health Department.
A man who set himself on fire in downtown Arroyo Grande on Monday afternoon was airlifted to a burn center in Fresno for treatment, according to police.
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The man, estimated to be about 50 years old, suffered severe burns to most of his body, Arroyo Grande police said. He was not identified.
Police received a call about 12:30 p.m. reporting a man on fire near the Swinging Bridge in the Arroyo Grande Village.
A witness told police that he smelled what he believed to be gasoline coming from the men’s public restroom near the corner of Olohan Alley and Short Street, according to a news release from the department.
The witness then saw a man fully engulfed in flames, running north across the Swinging Bridge, according to the release. The male subject collapsed near a tree just north of the Swinging Bridge, at which time several citizens came to his aid.
They successfully extinguished the fire as police officers arrived. The foliage below the bridge also caught fire; that blaze was extinguished by firefighters with the Five Cities Fire Authority.
The man was transported first to Arroyo Grande Community Hospital.
An Arroyo Grande police detective and an arson investigator have been assigned to follow up on the investigation, police said. Further information, including why police believe the man ignited himself, was not available.