WASHINGTON – The US Secret Service said on Friday that agents intervened after a man in wheelchair set fire to his jacket near one of the entrances to the White House.
The incident occurred at 2.45 pm outside the fence on the north side of the grounds.
“A male subject operating an electronic wheelchair-type scooter lit his outer jacket on fire while sitting along Pennsylvania Ave. outside the North Fence Line,” the Secret Service said on Twitter. “Uniformed Division Officers immediately responded, extinguished the fire and rendered first aid.”
The responding officers carried the man into nearby Lafayette Park.
As a precaution, authorities barred pedestrians from the stretch of Pennsylvania Ave. in front of the White House and entirely blocked vehicular traffic on an adjacent street.
“The male subject has been transported to a local hospital with what appears to be non-life threatening injuries,” the Secret Service.
Citing unnamed law enforcement sources, NBC News reported that the man had mental health issues.
While President Donald Trump was inside the White House at the time of the incident, he was never in any danger, authorities said.
A man fatally shot himself outside the White House in March 2018.
Trump and first lady Melania Trump were en route to the president’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida on that occasion.
The shooting came about a week after woman apparently suffering from mental disorders crashed her vehicle into one of the security barricades that protect the presidential residence.
In May 2017, the Secret Service detained a woman who jumped over a security barrier surrounding the White House.
She apparently intended to scale the north fence bordering the White House grounds, the Secret Service said then.
Two similar incidents took place in March 2017.
On March 10, a man identified as Jonathan T. Tran climbed over the White House fence carrying pepper spray and moved around in the gardens and yard for almost 17 minutes before being arrested.
Eighteen days later, the Secret Service arrested a man carrying a package and making suspicious remarks near the White House.