A man’s clothes burst into flames on South Street early Saturday after a security guard stunned him with a Taser-style device.
The startling incident, captured on video by a Twitter user named Pat Tackney, occurred outside Jim’s Steaks. In the video, the man appears to grapple with one security guard, then falls after a second one fires the device at him. The flames appear to extinguish by themselves after several seconds.
Restaurant president Ken Silver said the incident was visible on the steakhouse’s security cameras as well.
“We are currently reviewing the after-store-hours incident that occurred outside of Jim’s South St. early morning on Feb. 2, 2019," he said in a statement. "We are and will continue to cooperate fully with the Philadelphia Police Department as needed. We take the safety of our customers and employees very seriously and work dutifully to safeguard their well-being. In doing so we will continue operate with the highest standards as a local merchant, employer and neighbor.”
Asked in an email late Saturday if the security guards were employed by Jim’s, Silver did not immediately respond.
Such incidents are rare, but at least 15 people have caught fire upon being stunned with a Taser, five of whom died, the Associated Press reported in 2017. Axon, the device maker, told the AP that the incidents occurred when Tasers were used in the presence of flammable materials. The company said at the time that Tasers had been used 3.5 million times.
“We’ve seen it happen,” a company spokesman told the AP. “It’s a known situation. Thankfully it’s been a very rare event."
As of 6 p.m. Saturday, the South Street incident had not been reported to police, a department spokesperson said.