UPDATE at 11:00PM | Police say they are still trying to identify a man who set himself on fire after ploughing a vehicle packed with accelerants into the Merrylands Police Station in Sydney’s west.
Speaking at a press conference late on Thursday night, Assistant Commissioner Denis Clifford said police first became aware of the man sitting in a vehicle parked in the driveway of the Merrylands Police Station shortly after 7pm.
Assistant Commissioner Clifford said accelerants were inside the vehicle, although could not confirm which kind.
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Earlier reports had suggested the vehicle was packed with gas bottles.
“As officers approached the vehicle, the interior of the vehicle ignited,” Assistant Commissioner Clifford said.
“The man then drove that vehicle down the driveway and collided with the roller shutter door underneath the police station.”
The security shutter prevented the vehicle from driving into the basement of the building.
With the vehicle unable to go any further, police worked to extinguish the flames and pulled the man out the vehicle.
Assistant Commissioner Clifford said the man was “unconscious for some time”.
He was treated by paramedics at the scene before being rushed to hospital in a serious condition with “very serious burns”.
Assistant Commissioner Clifford said investigators were still working to identify the man.
In a statement released shortly after the press conference, police confirmed the man was aged in his 60s.
Police said no members of the public or police officers were injured.
Assistant Commissioner Clifford praised the efforts of the police officers on the scene who he said had placed their lives on the line to extinguish the flames and save the man’s life.
“The officers were very, very brave,” he said. “They approached the vehicle when I understand the vehicle still had an amount of accelerant inside.
“They’ve approached it (the vehicle) to try and save this person’s life so they have been very heroic in what they have done.”
When pressed on the suspected motivation behind the attack, Assistant Commissioner Clifford said there was “nothing to indicate this is in any way related to terrorism”.
“We don’t know what the motivation is at this stage, we are trying to work through all of that.”
Early reports had suggested the attack was terror-related.
“We are not leaning that way at this stage,” Assistant Commissioner Clifford said.
Investigations are continuing.
EARLIER at 9:40PM | A man has been arrested after allegedly setting himself on fire after driving a vehicle packed with gas bottles into the basement of a Sydney police station.
The man allegedly tried ploughing his vehicle through a security gate at the entrance to an underground car park at the station on Memorial Avenue around 7pm.
There are reports the vehicle was filled with gas bottles. They failed to detonate on impact with the security gate.
Officers set up an exclusion zone around the vehicle and the man was arrested at 8pm.
Thankfully, police have confirmed no members of the public or police officers were injured in what they have described as a “very deliberate” attack.
Early reports suggested the incident was terror-related.
“The circumstances regarding the incident are in the early stages of being confirmed,” police said in a statement.
“No further details are available at this time.”
EARLIER at 8:30PM | The incident is taking place right now outside the Merrylands Police Station on Memorial Avenue.
Details remain sketchy at this stage however it’s understood a vehicle laden with gas cylinders was driven into the underground car park of the police station just before 7.30pm.
There are reports the vehicle rammed the building, but it’s understood the gas bottles did not detonate.
The driver reportedly then tried to set himself on fire, according to reports.
He has been arrested at the scene and is currently being questioned by police.
Thankfully, there are no reports of any injuries.
Dozens of emergency service personnel, including heavily armed tactical police, are on the scene.
Early reports suggest the incident is terror-related.
Some FB pictures of Merrylands Police Station where police operation is underway pic.twitter.com/NxLTPIDH7C
— Rashida Yosufzai (@Rashidajourno) July 21, 2016
— Ross Greenwood (@Ross_Greenwood) July 21, 2016
— Daily Mirror (@DailyMirror) July 21, 2016
Police say man has driven a car possibly w/ gas cylinders onboard into carpark of Merrylands Police Station & set himself alight. #7News
— 7 News Sydney (@7NewsSydney) July 21, 2016
— Jon Team Australia (@JonTheLeftist) July 21, 2016