Man sets himself on fire on the National Mall - WNCN: News, Weather

Man sets himself on fire on the National Mall

Posted: Updated:
Law enforcement officers investigate the scene on the National Mall in Washington, where, according to a fire official, a man set himself on fire. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) Law enforcement officers investigate the scene on the National Mall in Washington, where, according to a fire official, a man set himself on fire. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
WASHINGTON -

A man set himself on fire on the National Mall in the nation's capital as passers-by rushed over to help put out the flames, officials and witnesses said Friday afternoon.

The reason for the self-immolation was not immediately clear and the man's identity was not disclosed. But it occurred in public view, on a central national gathering place, in a city still rattled by a mass shooting last month and a high-speed car chase outside the U.S. Capitol on Thursday that ended with a woman being shot dead by police with a young child in the car.

The man on the Mall suffered life-threatening injuries and was airlifted to the hospital, said District of Columbia fire department spokesman Tim Wilson.

He was standing by himself in the center portion of the Mall when he emptied the contents of a red gasoline can on himself and set himself on fire moments later, said Katy Scheflen, who witnessed it as she walked across the area. Police say they responded around 4:20 p.m. Friday.

Scheflen said the man was clearly alive as the fire spread, and passing joggers took off their shirts in an effort to help put out the flames. It was not clear who actually extinguished the flames.

A police department spokesman said the man was conscious and breathing at the scene. MedStar Washington Hospital Center tweeted that the man was taken there and he was in critical condition Friday night.

"There was not a lot people could do because it was a gasoline fire," Scheflen said.

She said he may have said something before he acted "but it was nothing intelligible." She said she did not see him holding any signs before he set himself ablaze.

She said there was another man with a tripod set up near him, but it's unclear if the man was filming the incident.

Lt. Pamela Smith of the U.S. Park Police, which is investigating along with the D.C. police department, said: "I'm not aware of any signage or any articulation of any causes."

The D.C. police department has dispatched its violent crimes branch, which responds to cases in which a person suffers serious injury.

  • U.S.More>>

  • Jury awards Ventura $1.8M in defamation case

    Jury awards Ventura $1.8M in defamation case

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 6:20 PM EDT2014-07-29 22:20:16 GMT
    A jury awarded former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura $1.8 million on Tuesday in his lawsuit against the estate of "American Sniper" author Chris Kyle.
    Former Minnesota Gov. Jesse Ventura won $1.8 million Tuesday in his two-year fight to prove he was defamed by a military sniper and best-selling author who claimed to have punched out Ventura at a bar for bad-mouthing the...
  • Last crew member of Enola Gay dies in Georgia

    Last crew member of Enola Gay dies in Georgia

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 5:34 PM EDT2014-07-29 21:34:51 GMT
    The last surviving member of the crew that dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima has died in Georgia.
    The last surviving member of the crew that dropped an atomic bomb on Hiroshima has died in Georgia.
  • Obama to announce US sanctions on Russia

    Obama to announce US sanctions on Russia

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 3:44 PM EDT2014-07-29 19:44:47 GMT
    President Barack Obama is expected to announce a new round of U.S. sanctions against Russia Tuesday.
    President Barack Obama is to announce a new round of U.S. sanctions against Russian banks and a shipbuilding company Tuesday.
Powered by WorldNow

1205 Front St., Raleigh
N.C., 27609

Telephone: 919.836.1717
Fax: 919.836.1687
Email: newstips@wncn.com

Can't find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.