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 TMZ .
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.com: ‘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.