‘Small Fire’ Prompts Temporary Shutdown of U.S. Capitol, Biden Inauguration Rehearsal

small fire temporarily shutdown U.S. Capitol, Biden Inauguration rehearsal

A “small fire” prompted a temporary shutdown of the U.S. Capitol complex and disruption of the ongoing Biden inauguration rehearsal on Monday.

According to the U.S. Secret Service, the small fire, which was immediately extinguished, occurred under the bridge at First and F streets southeast of Washington D.C.

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The U.S. Secret Service is the lead agency responsible for designing and implementing the operational security plan for the Biden inauguration, which is designated a National Special Security Event (NSSE).

It is working with the military, law enforcement agencies, and other public safety partners to ensure the security of the Biden inauguration on Wednesday.

Separately, the Acting Chief of the U.S. Capitol Police Yogananda Pittman released a statement reiterating  that the temporary shutdown was out of “abundance of caution.”

“Members and staff were advised to shelter in place while the incident is being investigated,” said Pittman.

The notice sent to House and Senate offices reads, “All buildings within the Capitol Complex: Due to an external security threat located under the bridge on I-295 at First and F Streets SE, no entry or exit is permitted at this time. You may move throughout the buildings but stay away from exterior windows and doors. If you are outside, seek cover.”

Meanwhile, the Washington D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department said a woman using propane at a homeless encampment caused the small fire.  She suffered a non-life-threatening injury and refused to be transported to the hospital for treatment.

The U.S. Capitol Police lifted its shelter-in-place advisory after determining that there is no threat.

The security in and around Washington D.C. is very tight in preparation for Wednesday’s inauguration. The FBI vetting all of the 25,000 National Guard members deployed to the event amid fears of an insider attack.

The U.S. military, law enforcement agencies, and other public safety agencies want to ensure a peaceful transition of power to the incoming Biden administration.

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