The man, estimated to be about 50 years old, suffered severe burns to most of his body, according to a news release from the Arroyo Grande Police Department.
Police received a call about 12:30 p.m. of a report of a man on fire near the Swinging Bridge in downtown Arroyo Grande.
A witness told police that he smelled what he believed to be gasoline coming from the men’s public restroom near the corner of Olohan Alley and Short Street.
The witness then saw a man fully engulfed in flames, running north across the Swinging Bridge, according to the release. The male subject collapsed near a tree, just north of the Swinging Bridge, at which time several people came to his aid.
They successfully extinguished the fire by the time police officers arrived. The foliage below the bridge also caught fire; that blaze was extinguished by firefighters with the Five Cities Fire Authority.
The man was transported first to Arroyo Grande Community Hospital.
An Arroyo Grande police detective and an arson investigator have been assigned to follow up on the investigation, police said.