Neighboring businesses react to man setting himself on fire inside Publix

PLANT CITY, Fla. (WFLA) — Businesses and bystanders are trying to process a disturbing incident where a man set himself on fire inside a local grocery store.

It happened Wednesday afternoon at the Publix on James L. Redman Parkway in Plant City.

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All the surrounding businesses 8 On Your Side spoke with said they are in disbelief this happened, calling it a heartbreaking incident.

Right now, the Publix shopping plaza is calm and nothing seems out of the ordinary, but that was not the case Wednesday afternoon.

“You saw fire departments pull up, then police officers started pulling up, unmarked cars, marked cars,” said Dane Mcbee.

Plant City Police said a call came in for a man setting himself on fire inside the store.

Dane Mcbee works at the barber shop next door and had gone to grab his daily Pub-Sub.

“It was kind of wild that I was just in there 5 minutes prior and then looking outside, it’s roped off, the entire parking lot was cleared out,” he said.

He said he went back to find out what was going on.

“They told me that a man got everything he needed to catch himself on fire, he got from inside the store, I don’t like that, and then he set himself on fire by the carts, in the front,” Mcbee said.

Police said several people inside worked to put out the flames and the 30-year-old man was sent to a hospital, in critical condition.

“She saw them carry out the man,” said Quyen Tran, who was translating for one of her coworkers.

The nail salon next door said they could hear fire alarms going off.

“We’ve been here for 20 years, and we never have any problems, you know, and we’ve never had any situation like that,” Tran said.

8 On Your Side reached out to the police to find out why this happened, but we have not gotten an answer.

We also reached out to Publix for comment and have not gotten a response.

“It’s crazy, because this is a comfort zone for all of us, you know? This is the grocery store in Plant City and it’s just sad that it happened,” Mcbee said.

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