Homeless Man in Burns Unit After Being Set on Fire in Hawaii

Police have launched an attempted murder investigation after a homeless man was set on fire while sleeping outside a building in Hawaii on Wednesday morning. The 39-year-old man suffered life-threatening injuries.

Police said Wednesday the man was taken to hospital in critical condition. He was reported to have sustained multiple second-degree and third-degree burns to his face, upper body and limbs.

According to police, an accelerant was used along with a blowtorch to set the unnamed man on fire while he was sleeping outside the See Dai Doo Society building on the outskirts of downtown Honolulu.

Staff from the Honolulu Fire Department and Emergency Medical Services also responded to the incident, which took place at around 5:45 a.m. local time Wednesday.

One witness, whose identity was withheld for her safety, was in a car parked nearby at the time of the incident.

The witness said the suspect walked towards the entrance of the building and stood over the homeless man, who was asleep on the ground.

"He [the suspect] had his hand outreached," she told Hawaii News Now. "And he was lighting the other person on fire."

"It was just a huge fireball of a person. He was running. Arms waving in the air," the witness said. "His jacket was practically melted on his body,"

"Somebody kept screaming for him to take off his jacket. He couldn't. It was part of him.

"It was so long that he was on fire. Even when he was on the ground it took so long for them to get all the flames out," she added.

Other witnesses were reported to have yelled out for water and told the man to drop and roll on the ground to put out the flames, according to the Honolulu Star-Advertiser.

Following the incident, the suspect reportedly took off towards Kukui Street in a dark purple, four-door Volkswagen sedan. He was reportedly last seen wearing a maroon hoodie.

Police have opened a second-degree attempted murder case. The investigation is ongoing and no arrests have been made, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Wednesday.

According to witnesses, around three hours before the incident, a person set an object on fire and threw it at the same homeless man.

Those who know the homeless man said they could not see why he would be targeted.

Newsweek has contacted the Honolulu Police Department and Fire Department for comment.

A Honolulu police car seen in 2020.
Honolulu police car pictured at a beach parking lot in Honolulu, Hawaii in July 2020. Honolulu police have launched an attempted murder investigation after a homeless man was set on fire on Wednesday. Ronen Zilberman/AFP via Getty Images