Part of a Halifax hospital was evacuated yesterday when a gasoline-doused man wearing a vest of pennies and holding a lighter in each hand walked into the reception area.

The 29-year-old arrived at about 2 p.m. at the Centennial building of the QEII carrying a container of what is believed to be gasoline and wearing a dust mask. He handed the receptionist a note threatening to harm himself.

The receptionist called security, who then called police and firefighters. As the area was evacuated, some medical staff members nearby approached the man to try to calm him.

In the end police arrested the man without incident. No one was hurt and the man was taken to the emergency room for treatment. Police do not anticipate charges.

“At the end of the day, obviously this guy is suffering some issues,” said police spokesman Const. Brian Palmeter.

“Generally in a case like this the concern is for the person’s well-being. Our concern right now is getting him the proper medical care that he needs.”

Palmeter and witnesses said the man was wearing a home-made vest of pennies and adhesive, apparently in anticipation of police arrival.

The reception area and nearby offices were evacuated for a total of about two hours. Firefighters checked every floor of the building before declaring them safe.

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