Authorities are searching for answers after a package exploded in the hands of a Queens man, setting him on fire, Pix11 reported.
The cylindrical black powder-filled container sat on the front steps of Springfield home on 222nd Street for days until it was picked up by the victim, a 73-year-old landlord, on Friday around 4:15 p.m.
It was at that moment that neighbors saw the elderly man fall to his knees, screaming as half his body was engulfed by flames, witnesses told CBS2. Neighbors ran to the man’s aid, covering him in wet towels to smother the fire. It was reported that no one had previously opened the mysterious package because it was not addressed to them but to someone else, only using a first name, according to police.
During a press conference, NYPD Chief Robert Boyce said, “There is substantial evidence left from this device which appears to be a victim-actuated device, in other words, when he opened it the explosion occurred.”
According to police, it is unlikely the package arrived by mail, ABC7 reported. A statement from the U.S. Postal Service said, “This matter is currently under investigation with law enforcement and we cannot provide further comment at this time.”