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Officials: Fatal Wendy’s bathroom fire not intentional

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

The Friday afternoon fire in a Highland Park restaurant restroom that killed a man may have started accidentally, city officials said Tuesday.

They also identified the victim as Louis Carey, 63. Highland Park authorities continue to investigate the fire and Carey’s death, city spokeswoman Marli Blackman said.

Officials said Carey was using the restroom of the Wendy’s fast food restaurant on Woodward when he was engulfed in flames.

“It appears he was trying to clean himself in the restroom with wet wipes and the alcohol from them caught fire,” Blackman said. “He mistakenly set himself on fire. The arson investigator doesn’t think the fire was intentional.”

After the fire started, Carey stumbled out of the restroom and restaurant employees tried to put out the flames with a fire extinguisher, officials said.

An employee also called 911 at 3:09 p.m., but the man was dead when Highland Park firefighters arrived.

Employees were able to speak to grief counselors after the man’s death.