Police identify man who died after setting himself on fire at downtown library

Local News

DES MOINES — Police say the man who set himself on fire on the steps of the Central Library on Tuesday afternoon has died.

36-year-old David Franklin Smith dumped an unknown fluid on himself in the library breezeway to start the fire shortly before 2 p.m. Tuesday, according to police.

Library staffers saw the fire and were able to put out the flames with a fire extinguisher.

Smith was transported to Methodist Hospital for emergency care, and later airlifted to the University of Iowa Hospitals Burn Unit in Iowa City for specialized care. He died at approximately 6:20 p.m. Tuesday.

Police say Smith had been in Des Moines for around two weeks, and his last known prior address was in Anchorage, Alaska.

The library resumed normal operating hours Wednesday.

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