Man accidentally sets himself on fire inside Hicksville church

HICKSVILLE - Police say an elderly man accidentally set himself on fire inside a church in Hicksville yesterday morning, but was saved by two quick-thinking priests.

Investigators say an 89-year-old man was lighting a candle inside the Holy Family Roman Catholic Church before the 7 a.m. Mass when the tiny flame set his clothes ablaze.

There was no one else in the church at the time, but officials tell News 12 Long Island the fire alarm went off and the two priests, Father Henry Reid and Father Gerard Gentleman, came running from the rectory.

Reid says he grabbed a fire extinguisher and put out the flames. The man was taken to Nassau University Medical Center with third-degree burns on 60 percent of his body.

"The quick action to extinguish the fire is obviously going to help and hopefully save this individual," says Detective Sgt. James Skopek, of the Nassau County Police Department.

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