Shocking video captures the moment a man sets himself on fire and calmly strolls around a lawn outside the White House – while police frantically try to douse the flames engulfing his body
Disturbing footage has emerged of a man setting himself on fire and calmly walking around near the White House as police desperately tried to douse the flames.
The man, who has not yet been identified, set himself on fire on Wednesday on the Ellipse park in downtown Washington D.C.
Video of the incident showed the man walking calmly across the Ellipse near the Washington Mall, an area popular with tourists, with flames covering his body.
Several seconds later, U.S. Secret Service staff could be seen towards him with a fire extinguisher to put out the blaze.
It occurred less than a mile from the White House.
He managed to stand upright before officials got to him, amid reports that he was wearing a protective suit which would have given him some protection from the flames.
The man suffered burns on 85 percent of his body and there was a suspicious package on fire near him which was also extinguished, according to .
He was later transported to a nearby hospital with ‘life threatening‘ injuries.
More than 70 officers flocked to the scene from multiple agencies. Several tourists and visitors were in the vicinity, but there were no other injuries reported.
National Park Service police and the U.S. Secret Service officers also assisted at the scene to try and establish what happened in Washington D.C.
White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said he could not immediately comment.
According to his official schedule, Donald Trump was in the Oval Office at the time for a ceremonial swearing-in of the President and Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Export-Import Bank of the United States.
A spokesman for the National Park Service, which maintains the White House grounds, told DailyMail: ‘At 12:22 p.m., officers from the United States Park Police and United States Secret Service responded to a report of an adult male who reportedly lit himself on fire on the Ellipse near 15th and Constitution Avenue.
‘USSS personnel extinguished the fire within seconds. The individual was transported to a local hospital for treatment.
‘The incident is under investigation. No additional information is available at this time.‘
A spokesman for the Washington Fire Department said: ‘I can confirm that we‘ve transported one patient with burns from the Ellipse and we‘re now on the scene assisting law enforcement.‘
The Ellipse is a 52-acre park located south of the White House fence and north of Constitution Avenue and the National Mall.
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There have been several security incidents in recent years in the vicinity of the White House, due in part to its location in the middle of D.C., with a number of streets approaching it.
On April 12, a man in a wheelchair-type electric scooter lit his jacket on fire outside the White House fence.
That man was hospitalized with what appeared to be non-life threatening injuries.
Crews are due to begin work on installing a larger fence around the White House as part of security improvements beginning this summer.
The existing fence will be replaced with a structure that will be about 13 feet tall, an increase of about five feet.
The incident on Wednesday came just hours after Special Counsel Robert Mueller claimed it was ‘not an option‘ for his office to have charged President Trump with an obstruction crime and that it would be ‘inappropriate‘ for him to speak further about his probe of Russian election interference.
In a public statement, Mueller restated parts of his 448-report – including the controversial decision not to charge Trump with a crime
The president has repeatedly cited the report – and his own attorney general‘s decision not to charge him – as proof that there was ‘no obstruction.‘
But Mueller, in his sudden statement delivered with little public notification, said his decision rested on Justice Department policy – not on the guilt or innocence of President Trump.
That did not stop Trump from tweeting immediately after Mueller‘s remarks that the case against him was ‘closed.‘
‘Nothing changes from the Mueller Report. There was insufficient evidence and therefore, in our Country, a person is innocent. The case is closed! Thank you,‘ Trump wrote.
It is due include an 18-inch, above ground stone base at the bottom, a 10-foot, 7-inch metal fence and a one-foot-tall ‘anti-climb feature‘ at the top.
The changes are intended to keep out intruders after the arrests of several people who have tried to scale the fence in recent years.
In January, a 55-year-old woman from Southeast Washington tried to jump a barrier, and a Virginia man in February tried to get into the White House, saying he wanted to help Donald Trump ‘bring peace to the world.‘
A California man was arrested last July after he got through security barrier near the East Wing. Dirk Renard Estes, told the Secret Service he wanted to meet President Trump, reported.
The Secret Service and the National Park Service, which maintains the White House grounds, received final approval in 2017 to proceed with building what officials called a ‘tougher, taller and stronger‘ fence.
The White House, a National Historic Landmark, sits on about 18 acres in downtown Washington, with the history of its fence dating back to the 1800s.