No police blame in fire

The police are not to blame for the burns a man suffered after he lit himself on fire in a Vancouver's McDonald's in March, according to B.C.'s police watchdog.

The Independent Investigations Office released a report on the incident Thursday, stating the man's injuries were a result of his own actions.

On the night of March 15, the man walked into McDonald's on Commercial Drive near East Broadway and started asking, “Who took my phone?”

In a 911 recording, the man was heard saying, "People who didn't take it, get out."

According to the IIO's report, the man then began pouring gasoline on the floor, while an employee pressed a panic button and told those inside to leave.

About four minutes later, police responded to the restaurant and found the man calmly sitting at a table, drinking from a can and smoking. He told police he wouldn't leave until he got what he wanted, and poured more gas on the chairs and tables.

A police negotiator attempted to talk with the man, but the distraught man was screaming and wouldn't engage in conversation. He held a lighter over his head at one point. An hour after police first arrived, an explosion ignited half the restaurant and the man ran out the front door.

Firefighters, who had stationed outside the door, sprayed the man with foam. Police ordered the man to get on the ground, but the IIO found he didn't follow directions, and police fired large plastic bullets at him.

He was taken to the hospital with second- and third-degree burns, but he suffered no injuries from the plastic bullets.

“Evidence showed the officers acted at risk to themselves in meeting all of their duties as police officers," the report concluded.

– with files from CTV Vancouver

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