Firefighters battle blaze in building near White House

Thick black smoke billowed from a fire Wednesday on the White House compound in the Executive Office Building. The blaze appeared to be located near the ceremonial office of Vice President Dick Cheney on the second floor of the building. The vice president was across the street in his office in the West Wing of the White House. Secret Service spokesman Darrin Blackford said the Old Executive Office building was evacuated as a precaution. City firefighters poured water on the blaze and moved furniture from the building onto a balcony. The Executive Office Building houses the Office of Management and Budget and staff of the National Security Council and other agencies.