HIGHLAND PARK (WWJ) – Authorities say a fire that engulfed and killed a homeless man at a Detroit-area Wendy’s restaurant was not intentional.

The man was smoking a cigarette while apparently cleaning himself with alcohol wipes from an area hospital when the fire broke out Friday afternoon, WXYZ-TV reported.

The man entered the bathroom at the fast food restaurant, on Woodward Ave. near the Davison freeway, and came out engulfed in flames. Employees called 911, Highland Park Fire Chief Kevin Coney said, and did their best to try to put the fire out.

“‘Help!’ That was all he could say at the time,” Coney told WWJ’s Sandra McNeill. “He was calling for help and they went back there to try to assist him. But being fully engulfed in flames…there’s nothing too much nobody can do but try to put water on him.”

Firefighters arrived to extinguish the blaze, Coney said, but the man was pronounced dead at the scene. He was burned over half his body.

The man has not yet been formally identified.


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