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Friday
Oct042013

Man Who Set Self on Fire on National Mall in Critical Condition

iStock/Thinkstoc(WASHINGTON) -- A man who doused himself with gasoline and lit himself on fire on the National Mall Friday afternoon was in critical condition at an area hospital that evening.

D.C. police received a call at 4:24 p.m. reporting the incident, and the fire was out by the time authorities arrived at the scene.

The man was conscious and breathing when he was transported by helicopter to MedStar Hospital. He suffered burns on 80 percent of his body, a National Park Service official said.

Friday evening, MedStar Washington Hospital Center reported the man was in critical condition.

Nicole Didyk, a Federal Aviation Administration engineer who was running on the mall at the time of the incident, saw other runners using their shirts to put out the flames.

"I saw him charred and his face was white," Didyk told ABC News.

Police cars began arriving "from everywhere," said Megan van Heertum, who added that the mall "smelled like burning flesh."

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio