A day after a high-speed car chase caused chaos in Washington, a man reportedly set himself on fire Friday on the National Mall just a few blocks from the US Capitol.

Witnesses said the man doused himself with gasoline and lit it on fire, according to CNN. A witness told the broadcaster several men ran up to the man and put out the flames with their shirts.

Fire Department spokesman Timothy J Wilson told The Washington Post that the man suffered life-threatening injuries. He was air-lifted by helicopter from the mall — an open space in the US capital city surrounded by museums and monuments.

Police closed down the streets near where the incident occurred, a witness reported on Twitter.

The incident came during a tense period in Washington. A partial shutdown of the US government caused by the stalemate in Congress of a government funding bill was in its fourth day, and on Thursday a woman was shot dead after leading police on the car chase, which began at the White House and ended at the Capitol.

The 34-year-old mother with recent signs of mental problems was killed after she fled the White House where she allegedly knocked down a security barrier with her car and struck a Secret Service police officer. The fatal shot was fired after she tried to avoid a security barrier and struck a guard house near the Capitol.

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