Classic Signals: Local man sets self on fire

By Elise Schoening
Features Editor

Every week, Features Editor Elise Schoening hits the archives and finds old Signals that relate to current College topics and top stories.

Living off campus doesn’t always have its perks. In November 2005, a group of students living in an off-campus house in Ewing, N.J. were traumatized after watching their neighbor set himself on fire. The man survived the attempt of a death by suicide and was brought to Temple University Hospital to be treated.

Several off-campus students of the College were alarmed by the shrieks of a man yelling from self-inflicted pain after he doused himself with gasoline and then set himself ablaze near their apartment on the 600 block of Parkway Avenue.

On Nov. 13 at 6:20 p.m., Ewing Police Officer Joseph Paglione arrived at the students’ neighboring house to find Daniel Parisien, 34, on fire and face down on the lawn with a car in the driveway, according to a Ewing Police press release.

“I was sitting at my computer when I heard someone screaming like someone was being murdered,” Megan Augustitus, junior communications studies major and resident of the neighboring house to the scene, said.

“One of the girls who lives upstairs said there was a fire on our lawn.”

The screaming was actually coming from Parisien’s girlfriend, who was trying to get help.

According to the press release, Parisien told Paglione that he wanted to kill himself. Despite his desire to die, two nearby residents came to the man’s rescue.

“One of the neighbors threw a blanket on him,” Shonnel Haynes, senior health and exercise science major, who lives in the apartment above Augustitus, said.

After police subdued the man, he was taken to a nearby hospital and later flown to Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia for treatment of burns that covered over 90 percent of his body, according to the press release.

“As far as I know, he’s still alive,” Ewing Police Sgt. Greg Smith said Nov. 22. However, his exact condition remains unknown, Smith said.

Apparently, Parisien had second thoughts about killing himself because, according to Haynes, “he was running around, trying to out the fire,” which ignited the lawn.

The man ran around his Jeep waiving his arms around and screaming while his girlfriend was crying and yelling for help, Haynes said. The man then began removing his burning clothing, which ignited his Jeep, according to the press release.