“Secret Service personnel are on scene assisting @NatlParkService and @usparkpolicepio in rendering first aid,” it said, referring to park rangers and park police.
“We saw this man,” Alina Berzins, 17, who was visiting the National Mall with her two cousins, told CNBC. “He starts running, and then we saw him covered in flames.”
Video shot by Berzins and posted to Twitter by her father 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.
“According to my daughter … she just saw a person that was on fire running across the White House lawn,” the dad, Krisjan Berzins, tweeted. “Police and rescue have responded. They’re closing all surrounding streets right now.”
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.”
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.