Man severely burned in fire at gas station

ATLANTA — People jumped in to help a man who caught fire at a Texaco gas station in southeast Atlanta.

The man had put only 77 cents worth of gas in his tank around 11:45 a.m. Thursday when he caught fire at the station located on 256 Clifton St. SE.

Witnesses said it happened in an instant.

Amos Terry, a witness, said he knew the man who was pumping gas and caught fire.

"Fire was all over his body," Terry said. "I just seen him running across, running across the lot there."

Chamberlain Nkombou, the gas station manager, said the man came into the store moments earlier and bought a lighter and $5 dollars worth of gas.

"He went out and, less than 3 seconds, he started shouting, 'I'm on fire. I'm on fire. I'm on fire,'" Nkombou said. "It burned off his clothes off of him, and his skin was hanging on him."

The Atlanta Fire Department responded to the call and shut down pump No. 6, but say they were not worried about fire at any other pump.

"There was no fire at the pumps or there was no risk of danger with the pumps as they stand," said Atlanta Fire Department spokesperson Cortez Stafford.

Terry said he cannot get the image out of his head of the man begging him for help.

"It was just hot. He wanted some water," Terry said. "So, I told him he can't have no water.'

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Fire investigators said a charred dollar near the pump and a charred nozzle were the only things left at the scene. Investigators said they will study surveillance video for clues as to what may have started the fire.

"There's a possibility of it being an accident. There's a possibility of it being any other thing," Stafford said. "So, we're not putting anything out of question right now. We're also not assuming anything."

The man remains in critical condition with burns over 80 percent of his body.

Investigators do not know what the man was doing at the time the fire started, and the incident remains under investigation.