Man sets himself alight in Sydney CBD
WORKERS sitting down to lunch in Sydney's bustling CBD have watched in horror as a man doused himself in petrol and set himself alight outside the Department of Immigration and Border Protection office.
The 37-year-old man, believed to be of Iranian background, set himself alight and reportedly threatened to self-immolate on Lee Street near Central Station about 1.30pm on Friday.
A witness, who asked not to be identified, said she was sitting down to lunch with colleagues when she saw the incident unfold.
"He was just standing there, police around him and the fireys, and then he doused himself," she said.
A nearby office had previously been evacuated with a crowd spilling onto the street, the witness added.
"They basically evacuated the immigration department.
"Everyone who had been lining up to get their passports done - probably about 50 people.
"By the time he did it they'd corralled him into the underpass so he wasn't really visible to everyone."
The sound of the man's screams stuck in her mind more than the sight of him alight, the woman said.
"He was screaming in pain. A wailing, agony, uncontrolled screaming."
Officers were ready with a fire extinguisher and water.
The witness said emergency services extinguished the man immediately, stripped him of his clothes and loaded him into an ambulance.
It is understood the man suffered superficial burns only.
A NSW Police spokeswoman wouldn't confirm if the man made any threats but said the incident was not terror-related.
"Police made attempts to negotiate however the man lit himself on fire," a police statement read.
"Police were ready with a fire extinguisher and extinguished the man. Fire & Rescue NSW then doused the man in water."
The man suffered superficial burns and was treated at the scene.
The incident comes after a man was shot dead by police just around the corner less than 48 hours earlier.
Danukul Mokmool, 30, screamed that he wanted "to die" and attacked a florist with scissors on Wednesday evening.
Graphic video posted on social media filmed by an eyewitness showed two police officers with their guns drawn and aimed at Mokmool inside a florist before someone yelled "down".
The man appeared to run from the florist towards police before four shots were fired at him.
"F***, f***," an onlooker could be heard screaming.
The man could then be seen lying lifeless on the ground as police came to his aid.
"Everybody move away," someone could be heard saying before the video ended.
A NSW police spokesperson later said "a man has been shot following a confrontation with police and has died at the scene."
"A critical incident team from the Homicide Squad will now investigate all circumstances surrounding the incident," the spokesperson said.
"That investigation will be subject to independent review and all information will be provided to the Coroner."