A Colorado boy lights himself on fire as a suicide attempt in the cafeteria of Standley Lake High School. The events took place in Colorado at a suburban Denver school around 7:15 a.m. (MT) Monday, January 27, 2014. Authorities said he is left with life threatening injuries and is currently in critical condition.
The boy apparently made no threats or said anything to witnesses before lighting himself on fire. Cheri Spotke, a spokesperson for Westminster Police Department told press associates that there was no indication there was any threats to Standley Lake High or any other schools. Authorities said it was a suicide attempt due to the fact that the 16-year-old boy left a note indicating so through social media.
After the Colorado boy lit himself on fire a male custodian who was present at the time of the incident was able to use the fire extinguisher in order to put the fire out and prevent further bodily harm to the boy and the rest of the school. Soon after, the Westminster police and fire department arrived on the scene. According to USA Today, there was a type of oil used by the boy to cause the ignition of the flame, but according to Spotke and NBC news the specific cause of the ignition is yet to be uncovered. Authorities did say they later found an empty one gallon fuel can on the first floor of the school building. There was no harm done to any other school personnel or witnesses to the incident besides the boy and the custodian, who cut his hand after breaking the glass to get the fire extinguisher.
The fire itself did not cause any physical damage to the school, but did create some smoke damage since the smoke did consume the schools corridors. According to Lynn Setzer, a Jefferson County Public Schools spokeswoman, school was called off for the remainder of the day and school for Standley Lake High will also be dismissed for the following Tuesday, January 28th. The students that had already arrived to school Monday morning were immediately dismissed following the incident. Upon the arrival of police personnel and the fire department, the school was investigated for any other items or cause for alarm.
A USA Today press associate who interviewed a father of a student that had witnessed the event says that the student is very shaken and is not doing very well after seeing the event, and as he stated he is unsure how anyone could witness such an event without not feeling well. This is why Standley Lake High School is said to be planning on bringing counselors into the school for students to speak with as those students and staff attempt to understand such events and the boys motives.
The Colorado boy lights himself on fire in said attempts of suicide, but authorities have yet to release a detailed explanation as to what the boys real intentions were. USA Today reported that the boy had submitted a note on social media saying that he had planned this event for a while and wanted people to know that it was of no one’s fault. Likewise, he informed the social media outlet that friends had attempted to talk him out of this event, but ultimately if anyone claimed they knew his intentions he was clear to state that “no one knows.”
By Sarah Widger