Man who set fire to himself outside White House dies in hospital

David Harding
Contributor

A man who set fire to to himself on the lawn of the White House has died, officials have said.

The man, who has been identified as Arnav Gupta, was taken to hospital on Wednesday after setting himself on fire.

Police in the US capital said on Thursday morning that he had subsequently died from his injuries.

Officials are still trying to find out why he set himself on fire, and identify the accelerant that was used.

Images of the man on fire on the White House lawn (Alina Berzins/CNBC)

US media reports said Mr Gupta was from Maryland.

The incident happened on Wednesday afternoon.

Emergency services rushed to put out the blaze with fire extinguishers after Mr Gupta was spotted by passers-by.

Despite the blaze, he continued to walk around the lawn.

Mr Gupta was said to have suffered 85 percent burns to his body.

At the time of the incident, he appeared to be wearing a t-shirt with the word “USA” emblazoned on the front.

At the time of the incident, US president Donald Trump was working in the Oval Office, said officials.

One eyewitness said they saw the man starting to run and then saw him covered in flames.

"Everybody was in shock. I was in shock,” teenager Alina Berzins told CNBC.

She said several dozen police officers suddenly appeared on the scene and were joined by a helicopter and multiple fire engines.

The scene as the man set himself on fire (Alina Berzins/CNBC)

The US Secret Service tweeted to confirm the incident took place in the early afternoon.

The security services said they responded to the incident within seconds, and that the man set fire to himself.

The fire occurred near the Ellipse park at an area popularly known as President's Park South.

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The space is used an official event location and contains several monuments.

“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 emergency services said in a statement.

Emergency services arrived at the scene "within seconds" (Alina Berzins/CNBC)

It was later announced that the unnamed man was taken to hospital and was in a life-threatening condition.

It is not yet clear why the man set himself on fire.

Emergency services arrived at the scene "within seconds" (Alina Berzins/CNBC)


In 2017, a 45-year-old man set himself ablaze in front of Trump Hotel on Pennsylvania Ave, in the US capital.

While no motive was found, a construction worker told a reporter that he heard the man uttering Trump’s name before he was engulfed in flames.

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