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Man Set on Fire; Police Seek Attackers

September 22, 1993

LOVELAND, Ohio (AP) _ A man who said he went out of his way to help three people in a stalled pickup truck was splashed with gasoline and set on fire, police said.

Milton Metcalfe, 30, ran screaming to a bar, where patrons tore off their shirts and used them to put out the flames. He was reported in critical condition late Tuesday with burns over 75 percent of his body.

″We heard a big loud bang. It sounded like a gunshot. We looked at the door and there was a great big fireball,″ bartender Angela Clasgens said. ″He was screaming, ’I was trying to help them 3/8 They were trying to pour it down my throat 3/8 They poured gas on me and set me on fire 3/8‴

No immediate arrests were made.

Police were investigating whether the attack Tuesday was racially motivated. Metcalfe is black. He described his attackers as white.

Metcalfe told police he was out walking after midnight when he saw the truck with two men and a pregnant woman in front of a closed gas station. He asked whether they needed help.

He said he went to his home nearby, got a gasoline can and bought gas at a convenience store. The truck would not start, so the men asked him to get them a cup of gas to prime the carburetor, Metcalfe said. One of the men threw the cup of gas on Metcalfe, and the other tossed a lighted match, he told police.

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