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Man wanted to set woman on fire in Vienna-Hietzing and attempted suicide

Man wanted to set woman on fire in Vienna-Hietzing and attempted suicide
The Vienna professional rescue service took the man to a hospital (symbolic image)

A man tried to set a woman on fire in Vienna-Hietzing on Thursday morning and then attempted suicide. In the resulting explosion in his apartment, the 49-year-old escaped with his life thanks to a joint operation by the Vienna Alarm Department (WEGA) and the professional fire department. The emergency services opened the apartment by force, extinguished the man who was burning in his lower body and handed the injured man over to the professional rescue team.

Doused with accelerant

According to police spokesman Mattias Schuster, the action began around 10:30 a.m. The 50-year-old woman had reported the neighbor, who was already known to the authorities because of psychological problems, for disturbing the peace. He confronted her in the staircase of the residential building on Auhofstrasse. The situation escalated, the 49-year-old Austrian citizen hit the woman with a wooden object and doused her with a liquid similar to gasoline, according to Schuster. He then tried to light it, but luckily failed. A passer-by, probably a jogger, intervened and the 50-year-old managed to escape. According to professional rescue, she suffered multiple bruises all over her body.

Locked in apartment

The 49-year-old locked himself in his apartment. The emergency services were alerted and arrived. “We asked him several times to leave the apartment voluntarily, but to no avail,” said Schuster. According to Christian Feiler, spokesman for the professional fire department, not only was there a strong smell of gasoline coming from the apartment, the concentration of the vapors was already so high that they could also be measured.

WEGA gained access

The professional fire brigade and WEGA opened the 49-year-old’s apartment by force. Inside they found the man with injuries to his head and neck that appeared to be self-inflicted and with a knife in his hand. He apparently spilled the rest of the flammable liquid in the apartment. There was an explosion and the 49-year-old was in flames from his feet up. According to Feiler, the man ran outside and was extinguished there by emergency services. Police say a Taser was also used. WEGA and the fire department provided first aid and handed him over to professional rescue services, who took him to hospital with serious injuries – third-degree burns and a stab wound to the upper body. According to the professional rescue service, there was no danger to life.

Two guinea pigs rescued

Firefighters and WEGA officers entered the apartment wearing breathing apparatus, but did not find any other people. This was one of the reasons why the firefighters, who had already prepared two extinguishing lines, extinguished the fire quickly. One person in the house was rescued by a fire department using an extension ladder. The emergency services found two guinea pigs in the apartment, which they also brought to safety and handed over to animal rescue.

This article was updated at 4:15 p.m.

Service: The Vienna police are the contact person for people who perceive violence or are victims of violence themselves. The police emergency number can be reached at any time on 133. The crime prevention department of the Vienna State Criminal Police Office offers personal advice on the hotline 0800 216346.

Further contacts: Women’s helpline: 0800 222 555 – Vienna Violence Protection Center: 0800 700 217 – Victim emergency number: 0800 112 112 – Emergency number of the Vienna Women’s Shelter Association: 05 77 22 – Men’s advice center 01/603 28 28

Are you in a desperate situation and need help? Talk to other people about it. The Ministry of Health’s suicide prevention portal offers help for people with suicidal thoughts and their relatives. Contact details for aid organizations in Austria can be found at www.suizid-praevention.gv.at. Information for young people is available at www.bittelebe.at

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