Twenty-six people have been injured after a man set himself on Fire, causing a massive explosion at a crowded bank in Melbourne, Australia. Many of the injured suffered from burns and smoke inhalation and it has been confirmed that at least six people are in a critical condition. According to authorities, the suspect walked into a Commonwealth bank branch in the suburb of Springvale, and started the fire using an inflammable liquid. The man was taken to hospital to be treated for burns and is under police guard.

Jacky Poida, acting inspector from Victoria Police told reporters that the 21-year old suspect had on him some sort of accelerant when he walked into the bank.

"He set himself alight with that fire". She said it was "too early to tell" what the mans motives were for staring the fire but the arson squad would be investigating.Paul Carrigg, who is a CFA operations officer, said it was "amazing" that no one died in the blaze. The suspect is one of the people critically injured. Twenty one others are injured including a toddler and elderly residents, who were taken to hospital with breathing related problems.

Witness to the terror

The fire took place at around 11:30 local time (0130 GMT) on Friday. Thick black smoke and fierce flames quickly overwhelmed people inside the bank trapping customers and staff inside before heroic passers-by helped them escape the bank through a rear fire exit.

The six critically injured- which included the man who started the blast were rushed to The Alfred Hospital with life-threatening burns.

Witness Ashley Atkin-Fone was close to the scene on a nearby street when he heard a loud explosion and soon after, people screaming. Speaking of the events immediately after the explosion he said a child came running out of the banks screaming with skin hanging off everywhere".

The witness said he then ran across the road to grab a fire extinguisher from telecommunication store Optus, and began trying desperately to put the fire out. By the time Mr Atkin-Fone entered the bank, everyone had already been evacuated from the rear exit.

Investigations into the fire and possible terror connections will begin immediately.