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Published: Monday, 7/9/2001

Massachusetts man sets self on fire at gas station

ELMORE - A Massachusetts man believed to be a transient yesterday doused his body with gasoline and set himself ablaze at the Blue Heron service plaza on the Ohio Turnpike, the Ohio Highway Patrol said.

Donald Shattuck, 53, of Revere, Mass., was listed in critical condition last night in the burn unit at St. Vincent Mercy Medical Center. Witnesses who saw the man burning in a grassy area behind the service plaza used blankets and sleeping bags to extinguish the flames, said Sgt. Jim Czerniakowski of the patrol's Swanton post.

An attendant who works at the service plaza in the westbound lanes, between Gates 5 and 5a, said Mr. Shattuck placed a deposit on a five-gallon fuel container and bought five gallons of gasoline about 1:40 p.m.

Mr. Shattuck then went behind the service plaza where he apparently poured about three gallons of gas over his head and body, igniting himself with a cigarette lighter. Sergeant Czerniakowski said Mr. Shattuck suffered third-degree burns over 75 percent of his body.

Troopers said Mr. Shattuck did not have a vehicle, and may been dropped off at the service plaza by a motorist earlier in the day.

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