PROVO, Utah — The 22-year-old man hospitalized after he caught fire outside a Provo 7-Eleven died Wednesday morning, according to a University Medical Center spokeswoman.
The incident happened on Monday afternoon at approximately 2 p.m. at 550 West Columbia Lane. Police said customers and employees at a nearby 7-Eleven called police when they noticed smoke, flames and a man on fire next to a Dumpster near the store.
Police identified the man as Sean Ryan Romero of Orem on Tuesday after multiple tips from the community.
“According to the video, he’d been on fire for a couple minutes, he was about 30 feet from the dumpster. What it looked like is that he was on drugs or suicidal because he was dancing around like a zombie on fire, didn’t even seem like he realized he was on fire,” said business owner Dave Johnson.
Provo Fire Dept. Battalion Chief Tom Augustus said the man managed to get to the front of the 7-Eleven store where customers tried to put the flames out.
“My customer grabbed my fire extinguisher, and he came out to try to help him, and we just saw everybody trying to help him,” said 7-Eleven employee Celia Rodriguez.
Lt. Mathew Siufanua, Provo Police Department, said firefighters found the man with burns covering 80 percent of his body.
“All of his clothes were on fire in a pathway going down the way in to the front of the 7-Eleven,” Siufanua said. “That’s when we cornered him, and he went down on the ground. They tried to put him out with water, but it wasn’t working, but the fire department showed up very quickly.”
Investigators don’t know how the fire started or whether it was set intentionally, only that an accelerant was used.