Oregon Man Faces Charges After Setting Self On Fire While Stealing Gas

| by Khier Casino

An Oregon man set himself on fire while trying to steal gasoline from another driver’s truck and smoking a cigarette at the same time, police said.

The Portland Police Bureau reports that 62-year-old Harry Frederick Suniville stole a partially-filled gas can from a truck parked next to his own at a Portland gas station. He started pouring the gas into his car while he took a puff on a cigarette around 11 a.m. on Sunday.

That’s when the gasoline ignited, according to, burning Suniville’s socks and pants. His hair and eyebrows were also singed, police said.

KPTV reported that Jim Owens, who didn’t see the alleged crime but works nearby and saw the aftermath, tried to save Suniville.

"Just that one little flame under the tire, I saw out of the corner of my eye that something was wrong there," Owens said. "Next thing you know, there was 10 feet of flames, and he was in the car and I got really worried and I knew I had to save him.”

Suniville’s vehicle, which also caught fire, had to be towed away from the scene. Firefighters extinguished the fire and Suniville was treated and released by paramedics, then arrested and faces charges of criminal mischief, reckless burning, and theft in the third degree, police said.

"As you're walking up you hear your truck was on fire and you're like well, that's that," driver Timothy Hardin, who owned the truck parked next Suniville’s, told KPTV. "It's just Portland. There's a lot of car crime," Hardin said.

Suniville was booked into the Multnomah County Jail and arraigned Monday.