Arlington Police Investigating Fire Sparked During Confrontation With Suicidal Man Doused in Gasoline

Arlington police are investigating what sparked a fire during a confrontation between a man and police on Monday afternoon.

Officers responded to a house on Carla Avenue at about 12:30 p.m. on a report of a suicidal man who had doused himself and the room he was in with gasoline.

The man, police said, was holding what appeared to be a lighter in his hand and doused himself with gasoline in the presence of officers.

They tried to calm the man, but he became agitated and waved his arms frantically, according to police.

An officer then deployed his Taser to subdue the man.

The gasoline ignited, causing a fire, according to police.

Police say what is not yet known, is whether the man's lighter sparked the fire or if it was due to the officer's Taser.

Still, the police department is defending the officer's action in using the Taser on someone doused in gasoline.

"We are aware that it has electrical current," said Sgt. Vanessa Harrison. "He had something ignitable in his hand as well. So we're, at least, wanting to disclose everything that took place in the room as best we know right now."

Officers reportedly tried to put the fire out with blankets.

Three officers were taken to the hospital with smoke inhalation, but are expected to be OK.

The man was also taken to the hospital.

His wife spoke with NBC 5 on Monday evening. She disputes the account reported by police.

She says her husband has burns to more than 80 percent of his body.

The police department is not identifying the male officer who deployed his Taser or releasing how long he has been with the department.

Harrison said it is likely those involved will be placed on standard administrative leave as the case is sorted out.

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