Passersby on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., ripped off their shirts to help extinguish the flames after a man apparently tried to set himself on fire Friday, witnesses and authorities said.
Washington D.C. Fire spokesman Tim Wilson told NBC News the unidentified man was suffering from life threatening injuries when he was flown by helicopter to Washington Medical Center.
The incident, which was reported at 4:24 p.m. ET, occurred on Seventh Street Southwest near the National Air and Space Museum, U.S. Park Police said.
Witnesses told several media organizations, including NBC Washington, that they saw the man pour gasoline on himself from a red canister and then set himself ablaze. Police said a red fuel container was found near where the incident happened, Reuters reported.
Nearby joggers stopped and ripped off their shirts to smother the flames, NBC Washington reported. A fire department spokesman said the man's injuries were life-threatening, The Associated Press reported.