herald

Thursday 20 September 2018

Father who lost job set himself on fire in car

A Dublin dad set himself on fire after he lost his job and developed financial problems.

Tragic dad-of-three Anthony Varma was made redundant shortly before he set himself alight whilst sitting in his Mercedes car in July of last year.

An inquest at Dublin City Coroner's Court heard Mr Varma (48) died two days after the incident in a Bus Eireann car park in Broadstone, Dublin 8. It was heard that two bus drivers had rushed to his assistance and desperately tried to save his life.

Paddy Hayde, who has paramedic training and was driving the city tour bus, shouted to a colleague on the bus, Thomas O'Reilly, to get the fire extinguisher from the vehicle.

The two men ran towards the burning car where they found Mr Varma in flames, half in and half out of the vehicle.

"I saw a man engulfed in flames from top to bottom," Mr O'Reilly told the inquest at the Dublin City Coroner's Court.

Mr Hayde shouted at Mr Varma to move away from the car and kicked the door of the burning vehicle shut, while Mr O'Reilly sprayed him with the fire extinguisher, quenching the flames.

Coroner Dr Brian Farrell said he wanted to commend Mr O'Reilly and Mr Hayde for what they did at the scene.

Garda Patrick Perdisatt, who came quickly to the scene after observing the smoke while on routine patrol, told Mr Varma to move away from the car.

Mr Varma, of Henrietta House, Henrietta Lane, Dublin 1, did so and told the garda that he had set himself on fire.



FOOTAGE

CCTV footage from a petrol station 100 yards away indicated Mr Varma purchased a can of petrol a short time earlier.

The emergency services were on the scene within a short period of time and administered treatment to the man, who received 70pc burns.

He was taken to St James's Hospital by ambulance.

Family members told the coroner from the body of the court that Mr Varma has lost his job and had financial issues.

After hearing the evidence the coroner said it was clear that Mr Varma intended to take his own life.

He recorded a verdict of death by suicide.

jlast@herald.ie

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