News State Western Australia News Man attempts suicide by fire

Man attempts suicide by fire

An ambulance leaves the Yongah Hill detention centre.
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A man is in a critical condition after setting himself on fire at the Yongah Hill Immigration Detention Centre east of Perth.

Emergency services were called to the centre at Northam, 100km east of Perth, just before 10:00pm on Tuesday to find the 40-year-old man with burns to 90 per cent of his body.

The ABC understands he wrapped himself in a sheet before dousing himself with accelerant and setting himself on fire.

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He was flown by helicopter to Fiona Stanley Hospital in Perth, where doctors are fighting to save his life.

The Immigration Department issued a statement confirming there had been an “incident” involving a detainee at the centre overnight.

“This person and two detention service providers who rendered assistance are receiving appropriate medical care,” the statement said.

Refugee Action Coalition spokesman Ian Rintoul said it was not the first time the man had attempted self-harm.

“It’s absolutely extraordinary that anyone could find the materials that are necessary to set fire to themselves,” he said.

“But what makes it even more disturbing is that this is not the first time that this detainee had attempted self-harm, and given the circumstances of the last incident I would have thought he would have been under very intensive observation.

“There needs to be a proper and thorough investigation into how this could have happened.”

Mr Rintoul said he had been told the man was depressed after he was released into the community in Melbourne, but was detained again eight months ago and sent to Yongah Hill.

In August, the Refugee Action Coalition called for an inquiry into conditions at the centre, after the sudden death of a 27-year-old Afghan detainee.

Five guards were also injured in a brawl involving up to 50 detainees at the centre in July.


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