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SALT LAKE CITY — A man is speaking out after being sprayed in the face with a fire extinguisher allegedly for smoking.
The incident was caught on camera and happened near the Gallivan Center off of Gallivan Avenue according to the victim, Jon Bird.
The video shows the moment Bird is sprayed in the face by a man with a fire extinguisher Friday evening about 5:30 p.m.
“He came out with energy of hostility, a fire extinguisher in his hands, and said, ‘I told you, you can’t be here,’” Bird said. “I’m still in shock and awe. I feel dizzy, kind of shaken up that something like this could actually happen.”
Bird said he was at the Gallivan Center as a volunteer for an event and stepped out to smoke the cigarette with others like Tim Snyder who witnessed the incident.
“He came out of there and shot him in the face with a fire extinguisher,” Snyder said. “That’s where everybody smokes at, you know.”
Bird said the man had approached him earlier in the day demanding that he stop smoking near the curbside area off of Gallivan Avenue.
“He just told us this is a non-smoking area and we needed to walk away from his establishment of business,” Bird said.
According to Bird, the man was complaining they were smoking too close to the businesses and customers.
However, Bird said after the first encounter, he reached out to security personnel at the Gallivan Center who OKed him to smoke at the spot where he encountered the upset business owner.
“We confirmed it with security that we were OK,” Bird said. “We told him we are definitely further than 25 feet from any entrance or ventilated door or window.”
Bird's girlfriend recorded the incident.
“My girlfriend asked him ‘are you really going to spray him with that?’ And he said, ‘yeah,’” Bird said.
Bird said the man fled after spraying him in the face.
In a statement to KSL TV, Alex Jamison, the man in the video and owner of two local eateries near the Gallivan Center, apologized.
Jamison stated: "Well I’ll say that I’m not proud of my behavior, I let myself get egged on and I overreacted. I’m a protective small business owner who has asked hundreds of people not to smoke near our patio in the interest of our customers and our neighbors’ customers.
"I try to be respectful and generally always get good responses. I asked him multiple times during the day to please go to the designated smoking area but should not have reacted to feeling disrespected.
"I certainly owe the other person involved an apology and would like to make it right with him however I need to. I did not mean to cause him any harm. Our business is committed to fighting for animal rights and this must include other people. I’m sorry."
In the meantime, Bird said he is experiencing various side effects including shortness of breath and headaches from the chemicals in the fire extinguisher that he inhaled.
Bird said his girlfriend was also splashed by the chemicals and fumes. Both went to the hospital on Saturday for a checkup.
“Who in their right mind puts a fire extinguisher a foot and half away from someone’s face and just lets go?” Bird said.
In the meantime, Salt Lake City Police Department officials said they are investigating the incident but declined to comment on Saturday.