Man catches fire along Benning Road NE

WASHINGTON (WJLA) - Metropolitan Police saw the 66-year-old man go up in flames, and they acted at once. Officer Derrick Newton reached him first, and started rolling him on the ground quickly. He was joined by other officers, while observers looked on, stunned.

Police and witnesses say the incident appears to have been an accident, as surveillance video shows the victim bent over as if to light a cigarette in the wind, and then suddenly bursts into flames.

The victim lived in a nearby group home, and the shocked worker there said the man had asked to go to the store – and she let him.

By the time firefighters arrived, police had already put the fire out. D.C. FEMS says the man was in critical condition when he was medivaced out.

The rapidness of the flames remains part of the investigation, and observers give kudos to police who acted without hesitation.