The incident happened on a Red Line train on Jan 18 in the city's Rogers Park neighborhood, according to the Chicago Tribune.
The clip shows David M. Ferguson holding an unidentified object in his hand while seated at the back of the auto.
Ferguson is then seen approaching the officer, and the two begin to brawl before two additional police officers join in the confrontation.
The employee is seen aiming a kick at a tin of flammable paint thinner being held by Mr Ferguson in an apparent attempt to knock it out of his hand.
At least one officer received medical treatment after the incident. Then, as the officers struggle to take Ferguson into custody, the liquid is ignited.
That's when the 28-year-old lights a book bag on fire and the end of the subway erupts in flames as officers escort Ferguson off the train.
"Man, the smell was real strong", Edwards said. Video shows one officer's foot caught fire for a brief moment.
Ferguson was later charged with aggravated arson and aggravated battery and is now being held at the Cook County jail without bond, The Tribune reported.
In this photo, a police officer stands near the entrance of the Farragut North metro station after a train derailed in Washington DC, on January 15, 2018.
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