Police end lockdown of Capitol complex triggered by fire a few blocks away
By John Wagner and Katherine Shaver
The Capitol Police temporarily locked down the Capitol and surrounding complex on Monday morning following an explosion that caused a small fire several blocks away under a bridge, an incident the police initially described as “an external security threat.”
Police announced the lockdown had been lifted shortly before 11:30 a.m. and said an investigation into the incident was continuing.
“A small explosion occurred under the bridge on I-295 at First and F Streets SE,” the police said in an alert.
From the Capitol, where Biden is scheduled to sworn in Wednesday, smoke could be seen coming from the location described.
Shortly afterward, the Secret Service said that at a fire at the site had been extinguished and “there is no threat to the public.”
D.C. firefighters said that they had responded “to an outside fire … that has been extinguished.”
“There were no injuries. This accounts for smoke that many have seen,” D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services said on Twitter.
D.C. police spokesman Stephen Benson said the fire started at a homeless encampment. He said the alert was sent because of the proximity to the Capitol.
Capitol police spokesman Eva Malecki said the lockdown resulted from “an abundance of caution” and was ordered by acting chief Yogananda Pittman.
An earlier alert at the Capitol complex advised people there that they could move throughout the buildings but advised that they “stay away from exterior windows and doors.”