According to the Associated Press, participants in an inauguration rehearsal on the West Front of the Capitol were evacuated into the by security officials.According to a CNN correspondent over Twitter, "an alert... went off in the Capitol urging people to stay inside and to not leave due to an external security threat. It urged people to stay away from windows and doors." According to NBC, all those outside on the complex have been instructed to "seek cover."Taking to Twitter, Senator Chris Murphy (D-Connecticut) said "I'm not there, but the smoke is coming from about four blocks south of the Capitol complex, under a highway bridge. No other updates right now." This is in line with a claim retweeted by an NBC reporter, which stated that a homeless man's belongings went up in flames under a nearby bridge.The fire was likely the result of a propane tank in a homeless camp exploding, according to a Politico reporter citing sources in the National Guard. However, police are still investigating as several other propane tanks were found.Both the Washington fire and rescue service and the Secret Service released statements over Twitter that the fire indeed took place nearby but not on the Capitol complex itself, and had since been extinguished.The fire department confirmed that there were no injuries reported."Out of an abundance of caution, the US Capitol complex was temporarily shutdown," the Secret Service said. "There is no threat to the public."
BREAKING: Smoke rising behind Capitol building. Inauguration rehearsal appears to be evacuating. Emergency announcement playing at Capitol grounds. pic.twitter.com/86J9S8CsMY— Jackson Proskow (@JProskowGlobal) January 18, 2021
The lockdown comes just days ahead of President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration and follows the January 6 attack on the US Capitol in Washington by extremists and Trump supporters, some of whom called for the death of Vice President Mike Pence as he presided over the certification of Biden's election victory.