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Thursday, March 3, 2016  A Lexington firefighter is recovering from burns after tackling a man who police say intentionally set himself on fire.Fire Major Joe Madden assisting a man who intentionally set himself on fire (WKYT I-Witness)

The dramatic event played out around 6 p.m. Wednesday at the intersection of Richmond Road and Fontaine Road.

Fire Major Joe Madden was in his vehicle at a traffic light when he saw the man running through the intersection.

“The flames went from a very small amount to completely involving his upper torso.” Madden continued saying, “I really didn’t have any plan because I didn’t have any equipment, being off-duty.”

While he didn’t have any gear, he had more than 20 years of experience with the Lexington Fire Department, so he jumped out of his car and ran to help.

“It was a stressful situation, that’s all I can say,” he said.

With a hand from other people who also rushed to help, Madden was able to beat the fire down using a bystander’s coat.

The man was rushed to the hospital to be treated for serious burns. Police say he set himself on fire after an argument.

“When the ambulances showed up I looked down and I realized my hand was hurting. When I looked down I realized some of his burnt clothing got on my hand and burned my hand,” Madden explained.
He says his hand will heal, he just hopes the man he saved will also recover.

“If we did not intervene, I believe he would have perished, so we altered course of events by our actions. Whether he’ll live or not, I don’t know. I hope he does, I hope his outcome is great.”