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Man sets himself on fire on the National Mall

By Eric Tucker

Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 06:48 p.m. HST, Oct 04, 2013

WASHINGTON » A man who poured a can of gasoline on his head and set himself on fire on the National Mall in the nation's capital has been airlifted to the hospital, police and fire officials said this afternoon.

The man, whose name was not immediately known, suffered life-threatening injuries, said D.C. fire department spokesman Tim Wilson.

He was standing by himself at Seventh Street and Madison Drive, in the center portion of the Mall, when he emptied the contents of a red gas can on himself and set himself on fire moments later, said Katy Scheflen, who witnessed it as she walked through the Mall.

She said passing joggers took off their shirts in an effort to help douse the flames, and the man was clearly alive as the flames spread. A police department spokesman said he was conscious and breathing at the scene. MedStar Washington Hospital Center tweeted that the man was taken there but had no condition update.

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

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

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

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HonoluluHawaii wrote:
Desperation and the second one in three days. I am only the first to comment on this because I am using the restroom and I seen the breaking news alert on my mobile.
on October 4,2013 | 11:49AM
HonoluluHawaii wrote:
omg why is a Rosetta Stone ad attached to this story?
on October 4,2013 | 11:51AM
Rainbowgran wrote:
Desperate people seem to be doing desperate things trying to get Congress and President Obama's attention to open the government with no strings attached.
on October 4,2013 | 11:52AM
control wrote:
sadly, the republicans could care less.
on October 4,2013 | 12:03PM
onevoice82 wrote:
He is just testing out his brand new Obama Care policy to see how much it will cover and how much taxpayers will have to cover of the balance.
on October 5,2013 | 06:23AM
DanLBoom wrote:
sadly, the democrats could care less. Get your facts 1st before posting. The New Party that says NO.
on October 5,2013 | 07:44AM
CloudForest wrote:
on October 4,2013 | 11:53AM
cojef wrote:
WoW! Wonder if he is some kind of extremist like the Buddhist priest that immolated himself awhile ago in the East?
on October 4,2013 | 11:53AM
entrkn wrote:
putting a fire under some tea party taliban might be more productive
on October 4,2013 | 12:19PM
Skyler wrote:
Suicide isn't the answer. We don't have it nearly as bad as others in this world - people should try to put it in perspective, and get help before deciding to do something so drastic.
on October 4,2013 | 12:38PM
primowarrior wrote:
This shutdown is driving people crazy, and crazy people even crazier.
on October 4,2013 | 01:38PM
markat wrote:
Anyone remember the movie called 'The Happening'? There's a synopsis here: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0949731/synopsis. Is Washington afflicted by a toxin that is making people behave in self-destructive ways? People are destroying themselves while Congress is destroying the country. It'd make a good movie if it hadn't already been made.
on October 4,2013 | 02:33PM
fairgame947 wrote:
A permanent solution to a temporary problem.
on October 4,2013 | 03:44PM
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