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Thursday, February 21 , 2019, 11:25 pm | Fair 44º

 
 
 
 
Advice

Deputies Stop Man in Crisis From Setting Himself on Fire

Incident involving 48-year-old Santa Maria resident occurred at Tom's Gas in Buellton

Deputies were able to safely subdued a man who threatened to set himself and his vehicle on fire Sunday night in Buellton.
Deputies were able to safely subdued a man who threatened to set himself and his vehicle on fire Sunday night in Buellton. (Contributed photo)

Santa Barbara County sheriff’s deputies are being credited with preventing a man experiencing a mental-health crisis from setting himself and his vehicle on fire.

The incident occurred shortly after 10 p.m. Sunday at Tom’s Gas, 230 Highway 246 in Buellton.

Deputies were dispatched to the station, where the man “was observed pacing near the fuel pumps with a gas can in his hand, and had doused himself and his vehicle with gasoline,” according to sheriff’s Lt. Craig Bonner.

Witnesses told deputies that the 48-year-old Santa Maria man, whose name was not released, appeared to be trying to ignite the gasoline.

“The distraught individual was holding a gas can in one hand and cigarette lighter in his other hand,” Bonner said. “It appeared that the subject’s clothing was soaked with gasoline.”

A deputy engaged the man in conversation, and encouraged him to move away from the gas pump, and eventually convinced him to put the lighter in his pocket.

“In an effort to encourage the person to move away from the gas pumps, the deputies walked toward the subject while speaking with him,” Bonner said. “This caused the man to walk away from the gas pumps and into the open parking lot.”

Moments later, the deputies were able to get close enough to the man to safely take him into custody.

He subsequently was taken in for a mental-health evaluation, Bonner said.

“The involved sheriff’s deputies are commended for bravely performing their duties and saving the life of this man, as well as protecting the lives and property of bystanders and the Buellton community,” Bonner said.  

Noozhawk executive editor Tom Bolton can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Deputies were able to manuever a man in crisis away from gas pumps in Buellton, where he was threatening to set himself on fire. Click to view larger
Deputies were able to manuever a man in crisis away from gas pumps in Buellton, where he was threatening to set himself on fire. (Contributed photo)

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