Shockwaves went through Washington D.C. on Tuesday afternoon when a woman set herself on fire at U.S. Rep. Danny K. Davis’ West Side office in a reported suicide attempt.
NBC Chicago reported that the 43 year-old woman entered the office at 2746 W. Madison Street at around 3pm. She then drank hand sanitizer before pouring it on herself and setting herself on fire. She was rushed to Stroger Hospital in serious condition with severe burns.
Davis was not in his office at the time of the incident, but he was on his way back there from a meeting. He later returned after the incident was under control.
“To me, it’s an obvious case of mental illness,” Davis said. “It’s a reaffirmation of the tremendous need for additional mental health services in our community.”
The congressman explained that the woman entered the office and began picking up various items around the room. She was told to stop and that the police would be called if she did not comply, but she responded by setting herself on fire. A member of Davis’s staff managed to put out the flames with a fire extinguisher and call 911.
“We get people a great deal who have these kinds of issues,” Davis said of people who stop at his street-level office. “We do the best we can for them.”
The politician added that at least once a day, a person with a mental illness, who is homeless or is addicted to drugs, stops by his office. He said his staff often works with area homeless shelters, mental health organizations and hospitals to help people get into treatment.
“I’ve driven people myself” to get drug treatment, Davis said.
He added that though his office has a security system, he has no security staff.
“We don’t worry much about security,” he said. “I’ve been in a storefront office in Chicago on the West Side for over 40 years. That’s the only way to really be of value and service. We’re basically part of the hood.”
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