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October 24, 2014 3:08 pm

Jewish Store Owner in Brooklyn Helps Save Man on Fire After Blast From Hookah Pipe Chemicals

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A man caught himself on fire while using hookah in Brooklyn. Photo: Screenshot, ABC.

A Jewish store owner helped save a man who was seen running down a street in Brooklyn with his clothes on fire following a small explosion from chemicals used for a hookah pipe, the UK’s Daily Mail reported on Wednesday.

The chemical fire broke out shortly before 2 p.m. on Tuesday inside a basement on McDonald Avenue in Brooklyn, across the street from a Jewish seminary. Neighbors said a 22-year-old was drying tobacco leaves using a mixture of acetone and coconut oil for a hookah pipe when fumes from the flammable liquids ignited with a water heater pilot light.

Surveillance cameras on McDonald Avenue caught the man running down the street with his clothes on fire while leaving behind a trail of white smoke, according to the Daily Mail. Witnesses said the man fled his building and raced across the street screaming for help before two people passing by were able to put out the fire.

Alex Mayer, the Jewish owner of a nearby camera shop, told 7Online. ”I hung up the phone and I started chasing him. And I’m like, ‘Drop and roll! Drop and roll!’ I caught up with [him] a half block up, when he finally dropped.” The victim was still burning until a truck driver named Claudio came and sprayed him with a fire extinguisher.

Mayer told NY1 he stayed by the victim’s side until an ambulance came, encouraging him to keep breathing and hold on for help.

All of the man’s clothes melted off his body from the flames except for a pair of boots and gloves, according to The victim’s hair was also burnt off. Eyewitnesses said they saw him slipping in and out of consciousness and begging for help.

The victim suffered from second and third-degree burns to 80 percent of his body. He was taken to Maimonides Medical Center in critical condition, according to PIX11.

It took 60 firefighters about an hour to put out the basement fire in the victim’s property on McDonald Avenue, which he was in the process of opening as a hookah lounge. One of the first responders suffered minor injuries. Hazmat units also tested chemicals found at the scene.

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