A man who shot himself in the head three times with a flare gun along Interstate 295 in Freeport was listed in critical condition Tuesday night at Maine Medical Center in Portland.

Daniel Abbott, 65, of Portland suffered burns and head injuries in the incident and was rescued by two passing motorists, according to Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine State Police. The drivers saw Abbott’s pickup truck on fire alongside I-295 near the Brunswick line just before 10 a.m. Tuesday.

The potential for a more severe situation was avoided when one of the good Samaritans used a fire extinguisher to prevent the fire in the truck’s cab from spreading to a propane tank in the bed of the pickup, according to McCausland.

“Troopers say if the fire had got out of control, the propane tank in the truck’s bed likely would have exploded,” he said.

State police said Abbott was driving a Ford pickup that had been modified to run on propane. McCausland said it is not common for drivers in Maine to be operating their personal vehicles on propane.

After Abbott shot himself with the flare gun, a small fire broke out in the cab of the pickup around 9:49 a.m.


McCausland identified the motorists who came to the aid of Abbott as Jayson Forgues, 42, of Freeport, who helped pull him to safety, and Paul Oleston, 48, of Topsham. Oleston used the fire extinguisher in his commercial van to put out the fire in the truck’s cab, according to WGME-TV.

Oleston was driving an HVAC Services Inc. van when he came upon Abbott’s truck. He pulled over and removed a fire extinguisher that he carries with him, using it to put out the flames.

“It would have been a pretty nasty explosion,” State Trooper Doug Cropper told WGME. “When a propane tank explodes, it goes. There would have been shrapnel everywhere.”

Forgues and Oleston could not be reached for comment Tuesday night.

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