Police: Man Sets Himself on Fire Displaying a Burning Cross

Police: Man Sets Himself on Fire Displaying a Burning Cross

PALM BAY – Police say a Florida man suffered second-degree burns after he set himself ablaze creating a Halloween display that involved lighting a wooden cross on fire. According to Yvonne Martinez, a spokeswoman for the Palm Bay Police Department, neighbors witnessed 50-year-old Ron Nielson setting up display outside his home – a display that included a circle of candles with a wooden cross in the middle. When he poured gasoline on the display, he accidentally lit himself on fire. His wife was with him at the time. 

He was burned on roughly 50 percent of his body and airlifted to the Orlando Regional Medical Center’s burn unit where his condition was not disclosed. 

Martinez said, “It started as some kind of prank, apparently, and involved a wooden cross. We don’t know if he was trying to light the cross or the candles but when he did, his clothes caught fire.” 

A fire marshal told Martinez the area where Nielson was setting up the display was not properly ventilated, causing the vapors and Nielson’s clothes to ignite.

And then a pink elephant reportedly danced across the lawn.

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