A MEDICAL centre has praised the swift action of a security guard who prevented a man from setting himself on fire in front of waiting patients.

Nasir Ahmed was working at Westbourne Green Community Health Centre, in Heaton Road, Bradford, on Tuesday, when a man in his 40s doused himself in petrol and held out a cigarette lighter.

Mr Ahmed tackled the man and snatched the lighter from him before he could set fire to himself.

Helena Reeves, director of communications with Community Health Partnerships, head tenant at the community health centre said: “We are so grateful to Mr Ahmed who was extremely brave in tackling the man. His actions undoubtedly stopped a potentially tragic event from happening which may have caused serious injury or even loss of lives.

“He did it with ho thought to his own safety and we and all the staff at the centre applaud him.”

Mr Ahmed said he was still shaken by the ordeal.

He said: “The man - who was not a patient at the centre - came in asking to ‘speak to someone in the assessment centre’ and was disturbed and agitated.

“He said he wanted to see a doctor but it seemed like a benefits issue because he had a letter in his hand saying his benefits had been stopped.

“He was told he was in the wrong place and needed to go to the job centre. I was standing next to him when he took a can of petrol out of a bag and started pouring it over his head and body. Some of the petrol splashed on to me and when I saw him get a lighter from his pocket I snatched it from him and grabbed him.

“There was a young family there and at first he wouldn’t let them pass but I managed to get them outside.

“Staff in the dental practice set the fire alarm off and the fire brigade came along as a precaution. The police were also called and took the man away.

“It was a very scary situation because I got petrol on my clothing,” said Mr Ahmed, 61. “I have never witnessed anything like that in my life before.

“I have been working in security at Westbourne Green for 11 years with no problems at all.

West Yorkshire Police confirmed they attended the health centre after receiving a call at 12.33pm.

A spokesman said: “A man in his 40s was detained and was then taken to a place of safety.”