An unidentified man was airlifted by a REACH Air Medical Services helicopter Wednesday after suffering severe burns in a field east of the Highway 34 bypass.

Police said the Highway 34 bypass was closed in both directions for about one hour Wednesday after a caller reported at about 11:20 a.m. that a man was on fire in a field east of the Highway 34. The man was airlifted at around 12:10 p.m. to Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in Portland. 

The man's name, age and city of residence are being held pending notification of next of kin.

Lt. Dan Duncan of the Corvallis Police Department said Wednesday afternoon he believed the man was alive but had suffered life-threatening injuries.

“He was severely burned,” Duncan said. “And it looks like, according to who whoever called this in, gasoline was involved.”

Duncan said the cause of the fire was unknown Wednesday evening. The incident remains under investigation. The man who was transported appeared to be the only one involved in the incident, Duncan said.

Andy Louden, battalion chief for the Corvallis Fire Department, said the fire on the man was extinguished before the first unit arrived, but a gasoline tank nearby was on fire.

“As soon as we got there, we used a fire extinguisher and the rest of the fire was out,” Louden said. “The field did not catch fire. There’s been so much rain it didn’t catch.”

The Linn County Sheriff’s Office, Benton County Sheriff’s Office and Oregon State Police also responded to the scene. The Linn County Sheriff’s Office closed the Highway 34 bypass so that the REACH helicopter could land on the road. The bypass was opened to traffic at around 12:10 p.m. 

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