This afternoon right nearby the White House a man lit himself on fire!! The debacle was caught on video and the man appears to be calmly strolling through a park before cops extinguished the flames!
A little after noon today, witnesses saw the man erupt into a bright orange fireball at the Ellipse, a popular tourist-filled park that sits north of the Washington Monument.
“We saw this man,” stated Alina Berzins, 17, who was visiting the National Mall with her two cousins. “He starts running, and then we saw him covered in flames.”
Video shot by Berzins shows the man, clad in black pants, covered head to toe in flames as he takes a slow walk across the grass near 15th Street NW and Constitution Avenue NW.
Alina’s father, Krisjan Berzins, tweeted after posting the video to Twitter.
Officers are seen racing over to the man, including one-armed with a red fire extinguisher, and police cruisers pulling up with lights flashing.
The man collapsed as he was covered with a plume of white foam, Alina Berzins said.
“Everyone was in shock,” she said. “I was in shock.”
Other witnesses said that the man was wearing a sweatshirt in 90-degree heat and was carrying a black bag. The shirt had writing on it but the witnesses couldn’t make out what it said.
The man, who wasn’t immediately identified, was taken to the hospital with life-threatening injuries after suffering burns to 85 percent of his body!
A suspicious package that was on fire was also found in the park, near where the man was extinguished.
The Secret Service took to twitter to confirm the attempted self-immolation.
“At approximately 12:20 p.m. a man lit himself on fire on the Ellipse near 15th and Constitution Ave., Secret Service personnel are on scene assisting @NatlParkService and @usparkpolicepio in rendering first aid,” the law enforcement agency wrote.