DETROIT, MI – A man has been arrested after he poured a garbage can filled with gasoline onto the floor of a Detroit gas station and then set it on fire with a blowtorch, immediately engulfing the establishment in an inferno that gutted the building and caused serious burns to a cashier, police say.
The suspect – whose identity has not yet been released – can be seen on surveillance video opening the front door of the Sunoco gas station in the 19300 block of W. 7 Mile Road on Tuesday, June 20. The man proceeds to dump a garbage can filled with gasoline onto the floor of the station’s convenience store, after which he deposits the can back outside and reenters the business with a blowtorch in hand.
The suspect then begins taunting the cashier behind the counter for several seconds before turning on the blowtorch and using it to ignite the gas-soaked floor, which immediately erupts into a massive blaze of fire that quickly engulfs the entire store. The suspect then bolts out the door and runs away unharmed.
The cashier was not so lucky, unfortunately, and sustained first degree burns after being forced to run through the flames to escape the inferno. Police say the clerk was taken to a local area hospital for treatment.
According to Detroit Police Chief James White, the suspect – who he said appears to have mental health issues – was later tracked down and placed under arrest.
“There’s a lot to this case,” White said. “The motives are totally unclear. But I think we know that this person was not dealing with, you know, their normal state of cognition. I mean, there’s something going on with that person.”
The investigation is ongoing and is pending a prosecutor’s review.