Police Identify Man Who Died After Lighting Himself on Fire at Des Moines Library

DES MOINES, Iowa – Police have identified a man who lit himself on fire Tuesday at the Des Moines Public Library and died from his injuries.

The Des Moines Police Department said in a release sent Wednesday morning that 36-year-old David Franklin Smith passed away around 6:20 p.m. Tuesday night at University of Iowa Hospitals’ Burn Unit in Iowa City.

Smith had been in Des Moines for about two weeks and police say his last known address prior to coming to Iowa was in Anchorage, Alaska.

Des Moines police and fire personnel were called to the library at 1000 Grand Avenue just before 2:00 p.m. Tuesday on a report of a person injured in a fire. When crews arrived they found Smith suffering from serious and extensive burn injuries. He was transported to Methodist Hospital in Des Moines and later transferred to Iowa City by air ambulance.

Police say their initial investigation indicates Smith intentionally poured a flammable liquid on himself and then ignited the fire inside an enclosed hallway outside of the library’s interior.


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