NEW YORK – Police in New York City are trying to identify a man who was seen on surveillance video lighting a fire at a Staten Island gas station that injured one person Monday morning.
Surveillance footage shows a man filling up a gas canister at one of the pumps. He is seen splashing gasoline on the ground and the pumps before lighting fire to a piece of paper, which caused a fireball to erupt.
The flames engulf the pumps for several seconds before extinguishers go off.
Watch the video above.
Gerard Lara, 21, was nearby at the gas station and received internal injuries from the blast, NBC New York reports.
“I hear a bang. It sounded like metal-on-metal,” Lara told the news station. “Maybe 10 seconds later, I see a flame. My immediate reaction was to duck down behind my car.”
Lara said he was forced to claw his way to safety through thick smoke and fire-stopping foam. Once inside the gas station, he said he collapsed and coughed up blood.
“I could’ve passed out,” he said. “I could’ve died.”
Lara was treated at a nearby hospital.
Authorities in New York City are asking for the public's help in identifying the suspected arsonist.