The US Capitol building has been closed, and the installation exercises have stopped due to an “outside security threat,” as video footage showed smoke billowing near the building. However, the fire turned out to be some distance away.
Rehearsals for Joe Biden’s inauguration on Monday were halted due to an “outside security threat,” according to loudspeaker messages overheard by witnesses. The nature of the “threat” was not immediately clear, but the building was soon closed, with entry and exit prohibited, and people urged to look for cover.
BREAKING: Happening now at Capitol. Smoke and emergency announcements. pic.twitter.com/eIcn5WD1LN
— @amuse (@amuse) January 18, 2021
Video footage showed smoke billowing from behind the Capitol building before it dissipated several minutes later.
The capital’s fire department reported afterward that a fire broke out on a nearby street but was quickly put out. “This explains the smoke that many people saw,” the department declared.
Emergency scanners indicate that the fire broke out in a camp for the homeless several blocks from the Capitol Building. Police issued a statement saying the Capitol had been closed “out of extreme caution” following the fire. After that, the Secret Service declared that “there is no threat to the public.”
Then Capitol Police said in a statement that the lockdown had been lifted and the nearby fire contained.
Huge cloud of smoke in Washington DC Freeway at 395- 695 Freeway right. G the Capitol. pic.twitter.com/EQnv0OMRxE
— Saqib Ul Islam (@SaqibIslam) January 18, 2021