According to the Reno Gazette Journal and several other sources, the man was intentionally set ablaze in the wee hours early Tuesday morning.
Crews put out the fire in 23 minutes as staff worked to keep spectators behind a perimeter. The fire was reported at 2:58 a.m.
The man was salvaged but singed and the Saturday celebration is still scheduled.
Burners yelled things such as “save the man” and cheered as fire crews began spraying it with hoses. No injuries were reported and there is no confirmed cause of the ignition, a statement from Burning Man spokeswoman Andie Grace said.
The official press release from the Burning Man organization is that there was structural damage to the figure, but it will take about two days to rebuild him. “An arson investigation is underway and one arrest was made shortly after the fire was set, but no charges have been announced and the name of the suspect is being withheld.” Says the press release.
However that hasn’t stopped other news sources from providing better information.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Paul Addis, 35 of San Francisco (seen in the booking photo below) was arrested on arson charges and misdemeanor fireworks possession after allegedly burning the effigy four days early.
Discussion about the premature conflagration was mixed, with some excited about the incident ("Best Burn Night Ever") and others expressing sadness that their experience is diminished by the incident.Personally, if you are a burner and your experienced is diminished, you really need to take a step back and realize that there is a lot more to life than whether or not a big stick figure burns.
More details as I have the time.