A man was taken to hospital Friday after setting himself on fire at the Workers’ Compensation Board building in downtown Edmonton. Police were called at about 9:55 a.m., spokesperson Anna Batchelor said.
The man’s injuries do not appear to be life-threatening, Batchelor said.
Edmonton Fire Rescue spokesperson Jill McKenzie said security on scene extinguished the flames. Nobody else was injured.
Sgt. Rick Abbott with the Edmonton Police Service downtown division said the incident appears non-criminal but remains under investigation.
Fire investigators are determining what the man used as an accelerant, Abbott said. A liquor bottle could be seen on the ground outside the building after the man had been taken to hospital.
Security parameters put in place by the WCB and Edmonton police after an armed man took nine people hostage in the same building in 2009 “were a complete success” in helping police deal with Friday’s incident, Abbott said.
The man who set himself on fire had tried without success to get inside the building, Abbott said. Jasper Avenue beat officers arrived on scene almost immediately, he said.
“Some good citizens helped out, and the WCB security were able to help out as well, but our beat members were here within seconds because of the connections we have now with some of our partners downtown here in the downtown core.
“The good news is that nobody else was in danger at any other time because of the security parameters set up between the EPS and WCB.”
In a statement, the WCB said trauma counselling is being provided for staff, contractors and visitors who may have witnessed what it called “a terrible incident at one of our buildings.”
The organization will cooperate fully during any investigation, it said.
“I’m deeply saddened by this morning’s events,” WCB president and CEO Guy Kerr said in the 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.”
The WCB building is at 9912 107th St.