COSTA MESA (CBSLA.com) — A woman recalled watching a man set himself on fire at a Costa Mesa nail salon Sunday.
The incident happened around noon at Creative Nails & Spa when a nail technician’s estranged husband walked in and began to scream at his wife.
Sherry Skipper Spurgeon, a customer at the salon, said the 46-year-old man then poured flammable liquid over his head and ignited himself with a lighter.
The witness said she immediately called 911. The emergency tapes were released Monday by the Costa Mesa Police Department.
“He’s sitting cross-legged on the floor now, in the middle of the shop…in the middle of the gasoline,” Spurgeon said to the dispatcher. “He’s lit himself on fire. He’s lit himself on fire. He’s lit himself on fire. Please, please, please. He lit himself on fire.”
“OK. We have help on the way, ma’am,” said the dispatcher. “Try to stay away from him ma’am, you don’t know what he’s going to be doing.”
“Get away from him. Get away from him,” screamed Spurgeon.
Bystanders threw towels on the victim and someone eventually doused the flames with a fire extinguisher.
“Someone got a fire extinguisher and put it on him. Oh my God,” Spurgeon told the dispatcher.
Firefighters and police arrived on the scene and carried the badly injured man outside.
“He was later determined to be suffering third-degree burns,” said Lt. Brian Glass. “He was taken up to Western Medical where he was treated for the burns, which covered approximately 70 percent of his body.”
Authorities said the victim is in critical condition.
Spurgeon, who spoke exclusively to CBS2’s Stacey Butler, said the victim and the nail tech separated five months ago.
“He was accusing her of sleeping with another man, which to me is ridiculous because this woman works seven days a week,” she said.
After the woman moved out with her three boys, Spurgeon said the technician filed a restraining order against her husband.
“She didn’t understand why he was coming in. She thinks he was on drugs of some sort. She said he had been calling her the night before…called one of her sons about 25 times on the phone,” said Spurgeon.