Polish Soccer Fan Set on Fire by Security Guard [Video]

Polish Soccer Fan

A fan attending a Polish Ekstraklasa soccer game was briefly set on fire by a security guard after his team lost the match. In the Polish league, flares in the stands waved by fans are typical. After Slask Wroclaw defeated Zaglebie Lubin in the relegation round match-up this weekend, things got bizarre.

The Lubin fans stayed in their seating area following the loss and in true hooligan form, defying the loss by waving lit road flares and yelling some colorful chants. Stadium security stood around the group in the vacant areas surrounding the visiting fans section. It was nothing abnormal for the soccer league.

There are 16 teams that make up the Ekstraklasa and each team plays each other in the season. At the conclusion of the regular season, the top eight teams are put into a Champion Group and the rest are left to the Relegation Group. While the Champion Group winner will go on to play in the Champions League, the teams in the Relegation Group are fighting to stay in the Ekstraklasa. The bottom two teams at the conclusion of relegation play drop down to the second level league, I Liga. To replace those two teams, the top two teams from I Liga are promoted to Ekstraklasa play the next season.

Not expecting to be set on fire by a guard, a Lubin fan climbed a security fence and started waving his flare in defiance of the teams loss in the Polish league game. The guards decided this fan was going to far and one member of stadium security stepped up and sprayed the fan with what appeared to be pepper spray to try to get him down. It was a measure to keep the fans from getting hurt. Instead, the spray was ignited by the lit flare and engulfed the fan in a ball of fire.

The flames lasted for a split second and the fan, after quickly dropping the flare, jumped off the fence and back to the stands. Reports from the stadium indicate that the fan was unharmed by the brief fireball. As surprised as the fan was to go up in flames, the security guard seemed just as shocked as the pepper spray ignited.

The Ekstraklasa may start looking more closely at fan safety. Pepper spray may not be an answer to crowd security and fans may be barred in the future from bringing flares into stadiums. Even with the fan appearing not to have been harmed during his brief flame up, fans should expect different security measures the next time they attend a match.

The Polish soccer fan will more than likely not be climbing anymore fences with a lit flare with or without pepper spray wielding security guards around. The situation could have resulted in a devastating tragedy if the brief flare up did not extinguish itself as quick as it did. If this would have occurred during the game when the stands were full, it very quickly may have turned into a mass casualty situation. Everyone involved with the incident turned out to be very lucky this day.

Commentary by Carl Auer

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5 Responses to "Polish Soccer Fan Set on Fire by Security Guard [Video]"

  1. Viking   May 1, 2014 at 2:31 pm

    This is why LE should know whether their pepper spray uses an alcohol base or an inert base to carry the active ingredients. You don’t use an alcohol base spray near open flame or tasers. In all likelihood, the flare-carrying fan is fine. Singed eyebrows at worst. But could have been far worse. He is lucky and next time should bring a foam finger or a beer helmet, not a banned pyrotechnic, to a stadium. Darwinism sometimes works.

  2. Event Security Guards Los Angeles   April 30, 2014 at 5:04 am

    Hope that the person is fine. It is his mistake why he climbed a security fence. A security guards has to do his job to get him down. But I wonder how pepper spray sets to fire?

    • Viking   May 1, 2014 at 2:36 pm

      Some older formulas of OC and pepper sprays use an alcohol base. Newer formulas of pepper sprays use an inert carrier, usually water-based. The newer formulas are designed to work in conjunction with tasers, which can create sparks and can light flammables. So officers are trained to know what their OC sprays use for a base and do not use alcohol-based sprays if there is an ignition source. Clearly not the case in Poland… yet. Fortunately, the flame was short in duration and looked worse in the still photo than it probably was. Still, it could have been far worse.

  3. Aron Wright   April 30, 2014 at 4:54 am

    Is that person fine?

  4. Bart   April 29, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    Just to clarify Polish law already does not allow football fans to possess or to lit any kind of pyrotechnics when in a stadium. That does include flairs. But as mentioned in the article using the lit flairs is quite typical by fanatic supporters in their sectors only. They always find a way to smuggle banned flairs through security.


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