Witnesses and loved ones speak out about man who caught fire in Fells Point

Posted at 6:24 PM, Nov 28, 2016
and last updated 2016-11-29 06:50:21-05

People who saw a man burning on Broadway Street in Fells Point Saturday night said it was disturbing to witness. 

About 10 people selflessly sprang into action to help a complete stranger, a move that likely saved the man's life.

"I've had nightmares every night since," Jacob Beavers said.

He said  he can't get the images out of his head, or the putrid burning smell out of his coat.

Saturday evening, he was working security at the door of the Green Turtle in Fells Point when he heard someone scream.

"For a second I was like, maybe he's doing magic or something, because he had this fire in his hands,” Beavers said.  “Then the next thing you know his shirt just went up and he just started running like completely on fire."

Pieces of burned clothing and scorched pavement mark the spot where the ordeal happened in Broadway Square. 

"He was just screaming the entire time," Beavers said.

He was one of about 10 people who didn't hesitate to help the man.  The group poured water on the flames and used their jackets to try and snuff them out.

"So I just sort of just like grabbed the shirt off his head and I went to pull it off but it just sort of just pulled into pieces and was melting," he said.

Everything happened quickly, but they were able to put out the fire covering the man's body.  Paramedics rushed him to the burn unit.

"The arms, the torso and the face is completely burnt," a close friend said.

He was too shaken up to talk on-camera, but he told ABC2 News the man's name is Stephon Burrell.  The 30-year-old is fighting, but he's in bad shape.

"Critical condition, the doctor says he has third-degree burns on over 50 percent of his body, he's burned from the waist up," the friend said.

He says Burrell was hanging out in the square drinking with pals Saturday.  Right now, it's not clear how the fire happened, but friends think it was just an awful mistake, one loved ones and strangers hope Burrell can recover from.

"I'm just glad I was able to do something,” Beavers said.  “I'm glad other people felt an instinctual obligation to help someone in peril."

Friends said Burrell needs to have surgery for the severe burns, and that will happen in the next few days.  They're asking for prayers for Burrell.

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