UPDATE: Lockdown lifted after inauguration rehearsal evacuated for fire at nearby homeless camp


People evacuate from the West Front of the U.S. Capitol during a rehearsal the 59th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Monday, Jan. 18, 2021. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

WASHINGTON (ABC4) – The U.S. Capitol and surrounding House and Senate offices have been placed on lockdown.

Nexstar’s Jessi Turnure tweeted Monday morning, saying loud speakers warned of an “exterior threat.”

ABC4’s affiliate WFLA reports that the following message was sent to staff in the US 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.”

Turnure reports that officials are responding “to an outside fire.”

Numerous people were said to have been rehearsing for President-elect Joe Biden’s upcoming inauguration ceremony.

According to The Associated Press, the evacuation comes after a fire in a nearby homeless encampment.

Those who had gathered for a walk-through, including a military band, were directed to head indoors and moved in the direction of a secure location inside the Capitol complex. Biden was not participating in the rehearsal.

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. The U.S. Secret Service, which is in charge of security for the inauguration, said there was no threat to the public.

DC Fire and EMS reports that an occupant of a homeless tent indicated she was using propane, “which may explain report of ‘explosion.'”

Shortly after 9:20 a.m. MT, the lockdown was officially lifted at the U.S. Capitol complex.

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