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Clues from Bellevue man on fire: melted gas can, fleeing dousers
Witnesses who saw a man on fire Saturday near the Eastgate neighborhood say they watched people douse the victim with what "appeared to be water" and then speed away, according to Lt. Eric Keenan, a spokesman for the Bellevue Fire Department.
Investigators also found a melted gas can near the scene. They were still trying to determine the cause of the fire Tuesday.
"There are only two things we're looking at as possibilities right now," Keenan said. "Either he did it himself or it was done to him."
The incident occurred beside the road in the 1400 block of SE 36th Street.
Witnesses phoned 911 around 5 p.m., with one caller reporting a possible electrical fire and others saying there was a man on fire, according to Bellevue police spokeswoman Carla Iafrate.
Bystanders put out the flames before firefighters arrived.
"The people there were pretty disturbed by it," Keenan said.
The victim, a man in his 40s with an address in Bellevue, died around 9 p.m. at Harborview Medical Center.
"He was completely burned – as burned as anyone could possibly be," Keenan said.
Police may have identified the victim with information from his wallet, but the King County Medical Examiner had not verified the identity and authorities were unable to reach the man's family as of Tuesday afternoon.