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Vic fire suspect visited numerous banks

AAP logoAAP 19/11/2016 Helen Velissaris and Melissa Meehan

The man accused of causing an explosion at a Melbourne bank by setting himself alight reportedly visited numerous banks as his financial situation worsened.

Twenty-seven people were treated by paramedics after a man walked into a Commonwealth Bank branch in Springvale carrying a container of accelerant and set himself alight on Friday morning.

The 21-year-old suspect, named in media reports as Nur (or Noor) Islam, an asylum seeker from Myanmar, had recently become homeless and was staying with friends.

A roomate, Joseph, told the Herald Sun the man had tried to ask for money at banks numerous times.

It's reported the man's rage on Friday was sparked over a welfare payment.

A member of Myanmar's Rohingya community in Melbourne, Habib Habib, told reporters the man been struggling to financially help his family back home.

The suspect remains in a critical but stable condition in hospital under police guard.

One person also remains in a critical condition while three others are being treated for serious burns at the Alfred Hospital.

Eyewitnesses have been relaying their experiences, with one man telling The Age the bank looked like a "war-zone".

"It was crazy," Mitch Jackson told the newspaper.

"You see people running around with soot and burns on their face and hands, screaming in the streets."

A mother who was in the bank with her three children said she saw the burning man and watched his clothes disintegrate from the flames.

"All his clothes just dripped off, and his skin, it just fell piece by piece on the carpet," Phalla Neary Khmer told the Herald Sun.

A tradesman, who is being hailed a hero after rushing to the scene and getting a fire extinguisher, said he was in shock when he saw injured people around him.

"I look up and I see this poor lad, you know, burns in the face, his hands were bleeding and his skin was ripped off and everything else," Ashley Atkin-Fone told the Nine Network's Today show on Sunday.

Readers seeking support and information about suicide prevention can contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Suicide Call Back Service 1300 659 467.

MensLine Australia 1300 78 99 78.

Multicultural Mental Health Australia www.mmha.org.au.

Local Aboriginal Medical Service available from www.vibe.com.au.

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