Police secure the perimeter of the White House after a man reportedly tried to set himself on fire outside the presidential mansion on April 12, 2019 in Washington, DC

Washington (AFP) - Secret Service agents rushed to secure the White House on Friday after they said a man set his jacket on fire just outside the fence.

The Secret Service, which guards the president, said a man “operating an electronic wheelchair-type scooter lit his outer jacket on fire while sitting along Pennsylvania Ave. outside the North Fence Line.”

Officers “immediately responded, extinguished the fire and rendered first aid,” the Secret Service tweeted, adding that the man had “what appears to be non-life threatening injuries.”

Details about what happened were scanty. It was not even immediately clear what caused the fire.

In a rare sight, officers rushed to the scene and others ordered journalists usually stationed with rows of television cameras outside the White House to get inside the building.

Reporters were allowed back outside a short while later.