WASHINGTON – A message on Monday morning said an “external security threat” was present at the U.S. Capitol.
“All buildings within the Capitol Complex: External security threat, no entry or exit is permitted, stay away from exterior windows, doors. If outside, seek cover,” the message said.
It appears to be connected to a fire. NBC News’ Pete Williams reports a law enforcement official says the evacuation was prompted by what turned out to be a fire at a homeless encampment.
As of around 11:30 a.m., the lockdown had been lifted.
NEW: The West Front of the Capitol has just been evacuated. We’ve been moved, staff were sent this notice:— Frank Thorp V (@frankthorp) January 18, 2021
All buildings within the Capitol Complex: External security threat, no entry or exit is permitted, stay away from exterior windows, doors. If outside, seek cover. USCP
Notice sent to Capitol: 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.— Geoff Bennett (@GeoffRBennett) January 18, 2021
It appears to be a false alarm of any sort of danger at the Capitol. Inauguration rehearsal was delayed due to the fire. Four law enforcement officials told The Associated Press there had been a blaze several blocks over and the rehearsal was evacuated in an abundance of caution.
UPDATE: U.S. Capitol Police: "In an abundance of caution following an external security threat under the bridge on I-295 at First and F Streets, SE, Acting Chief Pittman ordered a shutdown of the Capitol Complex. There are currently no fires on or within the Capitol campus."— NBC News (@NBCNews) January 18, 2021
The U.S. Capitol is on high alert just days before the Inauguration with thousands of National Guard troops deployed to Washington D.C.
Story is developing.
Unclear if this is the cause of/related to Capitol lockdown- but it’s in the same area where the security threat was supposedly located https://t.co/Dev82K5nBt— Garrett Haake (@GarrettHaake) January 18, 2021
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