Officials say there was no threat to the public and that the blaze, about a mile from the Capitol, has been extinguished.
The U.S. Capitol complex in Washington, DC, temporarily locked on Monday during a rehearsal for President-elect Joe Biden inauguration after a fire at a homeless camp about one mile (1.6 km) away sent a plume of smoke into the air and caused security concerns.
But law enforcement officials said there was no threat to the public and the fire was not considered a threat to the inauguration.
The evacuation of some participants and the lockdown were ordered by the acting Capitol Police chief with great caution, officials said.
Biden was not participating in the rehearsal.
A riot on January 6 in United States Capitol by Trump supporters sparked anxiety and numerous security concerns about Wednesday’s inauguration.
The U.S. Secret Service has stepped up security in and around the Capitol a week earlier in preparation, and the city center is essentially locked down with blocked streets, high fences installed, and tens of thousands of National Guards and other operatives security forces stationed in the area.
The participants were brought from the Western Front of the Capitol. Those who had gathered for a visit, including a military marching band, were urged to head inside and to a safe place inside the Capitol complex.
Those involved in the rehearsal said security officials shouted, “This is not an exercise.”
Public safety and law enforcement responded to a small fire in the area of 1st and F Street SE, Washington, DC that was extinguished. As a precaution, the US Capitol complex has been temporarily closed. There is no threat to the public. pic.twitter.com/kQfAI4NxNK
– US Secret Service (@SecretService) January 18, 2021
The US Secret Service, which is in charge of security for the inauguration, said on Twitter: “As a precaution, the US Capitol complex has been temporarily closed. There is no threat to the public. “
The city’s fire department tweeted that firefighters had put out a blaze near the Capitol complex.
“There were no injuries,” the department said. “This explains the smoke that many have seen.”