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Man in kilt set on fire on Oakland, California, bus

By Laila Kearney

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - A man wearing a kilt-like garment was set on fire as he slept on a public bus in Oakland, California, during evening commuter hours, and police were searching on Tuesday for another passenger suspected of the crime.

The bus driver called police on Monday evening saying that a passenger was burning alive. Oakland police said in a statement the man had burns on his lower body, but there was no immediate word on the severity of his injuries.

"The operator noticed that there was an emergency situation on his bus and he alerted authorities," said Clarence Johnson, spokesman for the Alameda-Contra Costa Transit District.

Passengers and the driver helped the man, who was wearing a kilt-like garment, to put the flames out, Johnson said. He said the man who was burned had been seated in the back of the bus at the time of the fire.

Police said the victim, who was not identified, was taken to a local hospital and was listed in stable condition as of Tuesday morning. No other passengers were injured during the incident, Johnson said.

Police have not released a possible motive or information about the person suspected of lighting the passenger on fire. That person fled before authorities arrived on the scene, police said.

Johnson said the bus had a video surveillance camera that may have captured the suspect. "It could presumably be used to determine what happened," he said.

Oakland, located east of San Francisco, has earned a reputation as one of the nation's most dangerous cities, with 131 homicides in 2012.

(Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Matthew Lewis)

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