New York Teen Stabbed, Set On Fire After 'Dispute,' Police Say

On Wednesday, police found an unconscious and unidentified 18-year-old boy who had been repeatedly stabbed in the chest and then set on fire on the fifth floor of a Bronx neighborhood building less than half a mile north of Yankees Stadium.

The victim was transported to Harlem Hospital in critical condition as fire marshals and the New York Police Department (NYPD) Arson and Explosion Squad arrived on the scene. Police said that an unidentified male suspect fled on foot in an unknown direction; police are still searching for him.

Police said the stabbing occurred around 3 p.m. after an argument, though detectives are still searching for a motive. The victim reportedly doesn't live in the building, and the suspect was waiting on the fifth floor when the victim entered the apartment building.

The victim was stabbed three times and then covered in gasoline before the suspect lit a match and ignited his body. The victim called out to apartment residents who then helped him.

Bronx police teenage boy on fire
Residents walk through the Eastchester Gardens housing complex in the Bronx on April 28, 2016 in New York, New York. Spencer Platt//Getty

It's unclear which parts of the victim's body were burned or to what degree, but fire attacks can severely and permanently harm their victims.

When a person is set on fire, the 1,650- to 2,280-degree flames essentially fry the skin; the fires can burn even hotter and deeper when they ignite clothing. The fire evaporates water from the skin, causing it and the layers underneath to shrink and tear open, exposing the fat underneath which feeds the fire even more.

Fires thrive off of oxygen, consuming all breathable air around the victim. Victims' lungs start to seize as they essentially suffocate around the flames. Burning victims often lose consciousness or die within 45 seconds of being ignited due to a lack of oxygen and the carbon monoxide fumes.

If a person survives a burning attack, they must be hospitalized for months or years and continually receive hydration through intravenous fluids to avoid the kidneys shutting down from dehydration.

While in the hospital, burn-unit nurses must regularly scrub and peel off a patient's dead skin, muscle and other tissues before massaging antibiotics into the survivor's exposed muscle and newly growing skin. Burn survivors describe the treatment as agonizing.

To properly heal, burn victims have skin graft surgeries where skin, often taken from their thighs, is grafted on top of exposed muscle. The surgeries often leave extensive scarring. Additionally, survivors may experience lifelong pain because of nerve damage or psychological trauma.