Man lights himself on fire at WCB building in downtown Edmonton
A man was taken to hospital Friday morning after lighting himself on fire at the WCB building in downtown Edmonton.
Police, fire and EMS were called to the the building on 107 Street near 99 Avenue just before 10 a.m., to reports of a man in front of the WCB building with his clothes on fire.
The building houses the Workers’ Compensation Board, a employer-funded provincial agency that provides compensation to Albertans who have been hurt or disabled on the job.
“I’m deeply saddened by this morning’s events,” WCB President and CEO Guy Kerr said in a statement. “I know our staff are always willing to help anyone in distress — whether or not we have an existing relationship with them. We will always provide help to anyone who asks for it.”
It’s not known why the man lit himself on fire, but his injuries are non-life-threatening. A police spokesperson said the man was only on fire for a few seconds before he was extinguished by security.
“The good news is, nobody else was in danger at any time because of the security parameters that were set up between the EPS and WCB,” Edmonton Police Service Sgt. Rick Abbott said, referring to a protocols put in place after a hostage-taking six-and-a-half years ago.
On Oct. 21, 2009, Patrick Clayton took nine people hostage at gunpoint. He surrendered to police 10 hours after herding people into a conference room with a hunting rifle and 100 rounds of ammunition.
During his trial, Clayton sobbed in court as he apologized to his captives, but remained adamant that he was also a victim. He described his actions as “the world’s loudest cry for help.”
Details emerged about Clayton’s history of alcohol and drug abuse, previous attempts for media attention and injuries to his knee both before and after the 2002 work accident that fuelled his beef with the compensation board.
In a bid to attract media attention in an attempt to escalate his claim with WCB, he also threatening to throw himself off a city bridge in 2006. Police managed to talk him down.
In 2011, Clayton was sentenced to 11 years, but with time already served, it was reduced to a six-year, 10-month sentence. Clayton was released on day parole on November 2015.
Fire investigators are looking into Friday’s incident.
— More to come…
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