Man in critical condition after setting himself on fire near the White House

A screenshot from a video said to be of the incident posted online.
A screenshot from a video said to be of the incident posted online.SCREENSHOT: TWITTER

WASHINGTON (NYTIMES, REUTERS) - A man was hospitalised on Wednesday (May 29) after apparently setting himself on fire on the Ellipse, a park south of the White House.

In a tweet, the Secret Service said the National Park Service and the US Park Police administered first aid at the scene after the man self-immolated at around 12.20pm.

The man was taken to a hospital where he was listed in critical condition, according to a spokesman for the US Park Police.

Videos of the episode showed the man walking several paces while engulfed in flames as law enforcement personnel responded, spraying him with fire extinguishers.

Officials said they still had not determined a motivation for the man's action by late afternoon.

It was the second such incident since April 12, when a man in a wheelchair-type electric scooter lit his jacket on fire outside the White House fence.

That man was hospitalised with what appeared to be non-life threatening injuries, the US Secret Service said.