On Wednesday afternoon, a man set himself ablaze near the White House. The Secret Service confirmed the incident, stating that it occurred at “approximately 12:20 p.m.” local time and that Secret Service personnel were assisting the National Park Service and the United States Park Police “in rendering first aid.” A bystander captured video of the incident.
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The incident took place on the Ellipse – a 52-acre park just south of the White House fence – near 15th Street and Constitution Avenue in Washington DC.
US Secret Service officials confirmed the details in a tweet and noted that “Secret Service personnel are on scene assisting @NatlParkService and @usparkpolicepio in rendering first aid.”
According to a report by ABC News, a spokesman for the Washington DC Fire EMS said that the man had been taken to an area hospital for treatment after sustaining burns.
Hours later, the US Park Police issued a statement saying that the man had suffered “life-threatening injuries.” Additionally, they stated that one uniformed Secret Service officer was also taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation.
The identity of the man was not initially released. The man’s motives are also unclear, and it is unknown whether he was attempting to make a political statement.
A man whose daughter witnessed the incident said the person was running through the park before he set himself on fire.
This is the second incident of a man lighting himself on fire near the White House in recent months. On April 12, a man in a wheelchair ignited his clothing on fire. Secret Service officers were able to extinguish the blaze and provide first aid. He was also transported to the hospital after the event, and that man’s injuries were deemed non-life threatening.
— Krisjan Berzins (@KrisjanBerzins) May 29, 2019