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This woman is HOT
|08-16-2009, 02:14 PM||#1|
Join Date: Jul 2008
This woman is HOT
North Miami woman in serious condition after setting herself on fire in mall
MIAMI - A woman who set herself on fire at The Mall of the Americas has a history of mental problems, her husband told WFOR-Ch. 4.
The woman had recently gone to Jackson Memorial Hospital three times for psychiatric help, he said.
As horrified shoppers watched, the woman doused her body with a fire accelerant, set herself ablaze and then silently walked through the crowded Miami-Dade mall and out the door Thursday.
Police this morning identified the woman as Cecilia E. Casals, 42, of North Miami. She is in serious condition at Ryder Trauma Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital.
Her husband didn't know why his wife set herself on fire, but said their oldest daughter worked at the store she went into right before the incident, WFOR reports.
Casals suffered third-degree burns over three-quarters of her body and was in critical condition late Thursday, authorities said. When rescue workers arrived, she was conscious and talking to them, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Lt. Arnold Piedrahita said.
"It was a big fireball," said John Torres, a shopper who grabbed a fire extinguisher. ''It was movie-style stuntman stuff."
The scene unfolded just after 3 p.m. in the mall on 7795 W. Flagler St., just south of the Dolphin Expressway and west of the Palmetto Expressway.
Casals had been inside the Savage Boutique. Witnesses said she left two dozen red and white roses on the counter. Then, she doused herself with a flammable liquid -- authorities could not say what it was -- and set herself on fire.
Some onlookers screamed. Others tried to put out the blaze.
The flames shot several feet into the air and encircled the woman, witnesses said.
At least a few shoppers, thinking the fire was a hoax, snapped photos of the woman and the efforts to help her.
Jose Morales, 24, was shopping for earrings for his wife at a kiosk in the mall. When he heard the shoppers' screams, he turned around and saw the woman engulfed in bright yellow flames.
He could feel the heat.
"She was completely on fire," Morales said. "She wasn't screaming or saying a word. She wasn't running. She was just walking."
Morales called 911.
Moments later, an unidentified person tried to extinguish the fire by pushing Casals to the ground.
When the woman didn't fall, Santiago Castro, who manages a travel agency in the mall, grabbed a fire extinguisher, pointed it at the woman and pressed the handle. It discharged, but it didn't douse the flames.
"She looked like a human torch, on fire from head to toe," Castro said.
Casals then opened an exit door and walked out to the parking lot, witnesses said.
Torres, the other man who tried to help, followed with a fire extinguisher and was eventually able to put out the fire.
After the flames were out, Casals continued to walk around in a trancelike state. Her hair and clothing had been burned off.
Morales said the woman's skin was charred and bubbling.
"She wasn't making eye contact with anyone," he said. "It was like she was in her own world."
Casals was rushed to the Ryder Trauma Center in a medical helicopter.
The Miami-Dade Police Department's arson unit is investigating.
The three people who tried to help the woman were treated at the scene for minor injuries, fire rescue officials said.
Committing suicide by fire is known as self-immolation. The act is often associated with political protest, though that is not always the case.
In June, a man in Brandon, Fla., tried to kill himself by lighting himself on fire. The 67-year old-man was taken to a Tampa hospital for treatment. He survived.
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