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The GW Hatchet

AN INDEPENDENT STUDENT NEWSPAPER SERVING THE GW COMMUNITY SINCE 1904

The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

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Diversity, equity official to leave GW in July
By Jenna Lee, Assistant News Editor • June 8, 2024

Man lights himself on fire on National Mall

Press gather at the National Mall after a man set himself on fire. Colleen Murphy | Staff Photographer
Press gather at the National Mall after a man set himself on fire. Colleen Murphy Staff Photographer

The man who set himself on fire on the National Mall Friday afternoon was airlifted to a nearby hospital with life-threatening injuries, a D.C. police spokesman said.

Several runners stopped to help the man – who had set off the flames with a can of gasoline near 7th Street – and beat him with their shirts to extinguish the flames, witnesses said.

“He was burnt really bad and his arms were charred,” D.C. resident Nicole Didyk said. Didyk, who is an environmental engineer for the Federal Aviation Administration, was running on the Mall at the time of the incident.

“I am so proud of the good samaritans who helped,” Didyk added.

Nearly a dozen ambulances  and police vehicles swarmed the National Mall responding to the self-immolation. Courtesy of Katherine Pineda.
Nearly a dozen ambulances and police vehicles swarmed the National Mall responding to the self-immolation. Courtesy of Katherine Pineda.

Moments after the incident, Megan van Heertum said she could smell “burning flesh.” She saw emergency crews loading the man into a helicopter after police came “from every direction.” A helicopter landed around 4:30 p.m.

GW senior Katherine Pineda, who was also running on the mall, said she saw medical crews crowding together on the Mall, bent over a victim.

“At first I thought someone had fainted but it was really smoky,” Pineda said, adding that she circled the block again after she realized a serious incident had occurred.

– Ben Kershner contributed to this report

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