WASHINGTON TIMES — A 51-year-old veteran died Saturday night after he set himself on fire outside a Department of Veterans Affairs clinic in New Jersey.
Northfield police said Charles R. Ingram III of Egg Harbor Township was airlifted Saturday afternoon to the Temple Burn Center in Philadelphia, where he died later that night, The Press of Atlantic City reported Wednesday.
Mr. Ingram reportedly used gasoline as an accelerant and set himself on fire at the clinic at 1901 New Road, which was closed at the time. The Northfield clinic is part of the Wilmington VA Medical Center system.
No note of explanation was left at the scene or at Mr. Ingram’s home, said Northfield acting Police Chief Paul Newman.
Atlantic County Veterans Affairs Director Bob Frolow said the clinic’s daytime Monday-to-Friday schedule causes a hardship for veterans who cannot get there during work hours, The Press reported.
“At the very least, his actions were an expression of need,” Mr. Frolow speculated. “It’s a shame and sign of desperation and need. This might open a window on that need.”
On Tuesday, veterans were seen visiting a memorial for Mr. Ingram that had been set up at the site of the fire, The Press reported.
The Wilmington VA Medical Center issued a statement saying it was “saddened to learn about the tragic incident that took place outside of the Atlantic County Community Based Outpatient Clinic. … Our thoughts and prayers are with the victim’s family, friends and neighbors.”
“Due to the open investigation and patient privacy concerns, we will not be commenting further at this time,” the statement said, The Press reported.
A VA official told the paper that 22 veterans commit suicide each day in the country.