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Man Ignites Himself in Red Cross Office

March 10, 1995

NEW YORK (AP) _ A Polish man who was going to be deported committed suicide by setting himself on fire at an International Red Cross office.

The man walked into the 21st-floor Manhattan office Thursday afternoon, ranting in broken English about genocide and human rights violations in Poland. He poured gasoline on the floor and himself, then started the fire.

``He was going to be deported back to Poland and he wasn’t satisfied with the assistance they were giving him,″ said Officer Jacqueline Jacknow, a police department spokeswoman.

The 45-year-old man rebuffed efforts to send him to the Polish consulate or the United Nations, said Red Cross worker Debra Bunt.

``He said he wouldn’t listen to us, and he wouldn’t leave the office,″ said Eigil Petersen, director of the New York branch of the International Red Cross.

The man, who had been to the agency before, threatened to blow up the office before setting himself ablaze. Because of his thick accent, witnesses couldn’t tell whose rights he thought were being violated.

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