Man hospitalised after lighting jacket on fire outside White House

Police and rescue personnel remove a man on a stretcher from Lafayette Park after the man lit his jacket on fire in front of the White House. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - A man in a wheelchair-type electric scooter lit his jacket on fire outside the White House fence on Friday (April 12) and was hospitalised with what appeared to be non-life threatening injuries, the US Secret Service said.

Secret Service officers responded to the incident on the north side of the executive mansion, extinguished the fire and provided first aid, the agency said on Twitter.

Daniel Kingery, a 57-year-old voter rights activist, said the man was holding up his burning jacket and recording the incident, which appeared to be a demonstration.

"He wasn't obeying their order to put it down, so it was definitely some sort of a protest," Kingery said.

The Secret Service put out the fire, knocked him out of the scooter, and dragged him to a statue in nearby Lafayette Square where other officials were waiting, he added.

The Secret Service closed Pennsylvania Avenue in front of the White House to pedestrian traffic, and a nearby block of 17th Street was closed as well.

At least portions of the White House complex were locked down.

News video showed emergency medical personnel arriving to tend to a person who police had surrounded on the ground.

A CNN reporter on Twitter cited a Secret Service spokeswoman as saying there was no threat to US President Donald Trump.

The incident occurred shortly after Trump spoke at the White House about the nation's 5G network.

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