This image, submitted to NBCSanDiego by a viewer, shows how the crowd responded to the emergency.
A woman set herself on fire in the middle of a public beach Saturday, in front of a crowd including families and children.
One woman who witnessed the incident said complete strangers jumped up and tried to help douse the flames.
Latisha Anderson of San Diego said was with her friend and her friend’s children near Mariner’s Point around 5 p.m. on May 19.
The group was enjoying a barbeque when a woman approached their grill.
She thought the stranger was going to take one of the hot dogs cooking on the flames but instead the woman took a hot coal and placed it on top of her own head.
Instantly, Anderson said, the woman erupted in flames.
Anderson captured what happened next on her mobile phone.
NBCSanDiego viewed the video but because of its graphic nature will not publish or broadcast its content.
A crowd of people scream and rush to the woman’s side throwing blankets and jackets on the woman’s body. One man screams “Someone call 911!” several times.
After about a minute the flames were doused. Soon after, a woman appears with a stethoscope and appears to be checking the victim’s heartbeat.
Anderson said the woman was later identified as an EMT who just happened to be there enjoying a barbecue nearby.
Johnson told NBCSanDiego Tuesday that she is still reliving the terrifying scene in her mind and simply cannot believe what she saw.
San Diego police investigators believe the victim, who is believed to be a transient in her 30s, covered herself in a flammable liquid before grabbing the hot coal. They are classifying it as a suicide attempt.
The unidentified woman was taken to the hospital following the incident where she was treated for second and third degree burns that affected more than half of her body, according to police.