The 39-year-old man went into a pub in a Co Cork town on Thursday night and set himself on fire in the toilets.
A number of patrons of the Fiddler’s Green pub at Sand’s Quay, Clonakilty, rushed to his aid.
Superintendent Pat Maher, who is leading theGarda investigation, said people pulled off the man’s burning jacket and shirt and alerted the emergency services.
“We would like to thank those people. They could well have saved the man’s life and at the least saved him from even more serious injury,” Supt Maher said.
Gardaí, fire brigade personnel, a local doctor and advanced paramedics rushed to the scene.
The injured man was then taken by ambulance man to Cork University Hospital.
A hospital spokesman said yesterday that he was in a stable condition.
The man, who is Irish and lives in the town, entered the bar at around 8.50pm and set himself on fire very shortly afterwards.
“He went into the toilets and poured petrol over himself. He then set himself alight,” Supt Maher said.
Gardaí have already interviewed a number of people who were in the pub at the time.
They are also trying to trace his movements before he entered the bar and trying to ascertain where he got the petrol from.
They are also looking at CCTV footage taken around the town centre.
Gardaí have spoken to the man’s family, but have so far been unable to interview him because he is not well enough.
“We hope to talk to him within the next couple of days,” Supt Maher said.
He said gardaí wanted to hear from anybody who may have seen the 39-year-old man during the day as they believe he had been socialising around the town.
- Anybody with information is asked to ring Clonakilty Garda Station at 023-8821570.