A DESPERATE man threatened to set himself on fire after dousing himself in white spirit in Sheffield city centre.
The distressed man, believed to be in his early 30s, pulled out a cigarette lighter and was seconds from starting a potential blaze.
Patients and staff at the Central Health Clinic, where the drama unfolded, had to be ushered to safety and the building was evacuated while emergency services were called.
Staff said the man had been seeking help from the surgery’s Crisis Resolution Team - an emergency mental health service staffed by psychiatrists, nurses and social workers - in the moments beforehand.
One worker told The Star the man, thought to be an asylum seeker, pulled out two bottles of white spirit after staff told him they could not help him.
“He was trying to get advice but we couldn’t help him,” he said.
“Then he reached into his bag and pulled out two bottles of white spirit.
“He poured one over himself and, before any of us could take any action, he pulled out a lighter.”
Nurses and doctors were led out of the health clinic on the corner of Mulberry Street and Norfolk Street, next to the Crucible Theatre, at 1.30pm yesterday.
Two fire engines, a police car and an ambulance stood by while police cordoned off Mulberry Street and George Street.
Police officers spoke to the man for 20 minutes before he was brought out of the building safely and put inside a waiting ambulance.
A South Yorkshire Police spokeswoman confirmed the man was ‘threatening self-harm’ but said the incident ended safely.
The man was taken to the Northern General Hospital to be checked over.
A South Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service spokeswoman confirmed: “This was a police incident. A man had poured accelerant on his clothes. We had two appliances on stand-by from Darnall and Mansfield Road stations.”