Sleeping Woman Set on Fire on Bench in Los Angeles

Witnesses told investigators they saw a man pour liquid on the woman before striking a match

By Ted Chen and Jonathan Lloyd
|  Thursday, Dec 27, 2012  |  Updated 10:07 AM EDT
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Police say they've arrested a man who set a woman on fire in Van Nuys. NBC4's Ted Chen reports on

Police say they've arrested a man who set a woman on fire in Van Nuys. NBC4's Ted Chen reports on "Today in LA." This clip is from "Today in LA" on December 27, 2012.

A woman sleeping on a street bench outside a drug store was doused with an accelerant and set on fire Wednesday night in Los Angeles.

Witnesses told police that a man poured liquid — possibly a beverage containing alcohol — on the sleeping woman at about 1 a.m. outside a Walgreens store in the Van Nuys area of Los Angeles. He lit a match and ran from the location, witnesses told police.

The woman, who is in her 60s, was hospitalized in critical condition.

"It was like when you pour gasoline on something — like an explosion," said witness Erickson Ipina.

The man purchased the bottle containing alcohol in the Walgreens store, then poured the contents on the woman, Ipina told a Newsreel photographer. Ipina said he called 911 and followed the attacker, who brandished a knife.

"He told me, 'Stop following me, or I will cut you,'" Ipina said. "I kept following him, and then the police came."

One person was taken into custody after the attack.

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