WESTMINSTER, Colo. (CBS4) – A student set himself on fire in the cafeteria of Standley Lake High School in Westminster on Monday morning and was critically hurt.
The 16-year-old student, who is not being identified, was listed in critical condition with severe burns after being admitted to the hospital. Authorities said it was a suicide attempt. Witnesses said the student poured lighter fluid on himself and then lit a lighter.
Police are currently conducting an investigation inside the school, located on the 10400 block of Holland Street. They said there were several other students in the cafeteria at the time the fire started but none of them were injured.
Westminster Police Department spokeswoman Cheri Spottke said the boy didn’t make any threats before starting the fire.
“There is no indication there were any threats to any schools,” she said.
The incident happened at 7:12 a.m., and authorities said a male custodian put the fire out with a fire extinguisher. Police also said a female employee got a laceration injury somehow during the incident.
The student suffered burns over most of his body and listed in critical condition.
The school was quickly evacuated after the fire broke out, at approximately 7:30 a.m., and school officials canceled classes for the day.
“There were many cops and fire trucks and ambulances arriving and students all over the place and parents — just kind of a horrible situation here,” area resident Shelley Chavez said.
Beth Ann Harris is a friend of the student.
“I’m just really heart broken. I really don’t know who would not be heartbroken,” Harris said. “Wow, it really happened at my school. It’s really such a tragedy.”
Friends say the student posted a suicide note on Facebook indicating that it’s nobody’s fault and he planned it for years. Fellow students are now expressing their support for him on social media sites like Twitter, saying, “It’s sad he didn’t feel he could talk to anyone.”
“We’re going to be talking to students, other faculty members and family members to try and determine what was going on with this student,” Spottke said.
Students with cars were given the okay to leave the school in their cars and students who take the bus and get to the school by other means were being taken to Wayne Carle Middle School where they could meet up with parents or guardians.
The school closed after the incident. Later in the morning they said school would not be in session on Tuesday, but there will be counselors available and students can retrieve belongings then.