Capitol Hill Lockdown Prompted by Nearby Fire

January 18, 2021 Updated: January 18, 2021

Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., was placed on lockdown due to a security concern. Smoke was seen rising from behind the capitol building. The fire has been reportedly extinguished and there have been no injuries.

“#DCsBravest responded to an outside fire in the 100 block of H St SE that has been extinguished. There were no injuries. This accounts for smoke that many have seen,” wrote the DC and Fire EMS official account on Twitter. 

An emergency broadcast was heard along with an alarm and staff inside the Capitol were asked to remain inside the building and away from doors and windows.

Some sources allege that the fire came from a nearby homeless encampment.

The U.S. Army confirmed that as many as 25,000 National Guard members will be stationed in Washington D.C. for Inauguration Day on Jan. 20.

The Defense Department authorized up to 25,000 service members to be deployed, which is an increase of 5,000 from numbers earlier last week.

A statement from the Army to news outlets on Friday said the increase would support the “federal law enforcement mission and security preparations” during the inauguration, and it would be led by the U.S. Secret Service.

“Our National Guard soldiers and airmen are set around the city to protect our nation’s Capital,” National Guard Bureau Chief Army Gen. Daniel Hokanson said in the statement.

President Donald Trump wrote on a statement last Wednesday urging Americans not to engage in violence.

“In light of reports of more demonstrations, I urge that there must be NO violence, NO lawbreaking, and NO vandalism of any kind,” Trump said. “That is not what I stand for, and it is not what America stands for. I call on ALL Americans to help ease tensions and calm tempers. Thank You.”

South Carolina National Guard among others denied the claims about a nationwide lockdown that were circulating on the internet.

“The rumors that the South Carolina National Guard is supporting a statewide or nationwide lockdown or quarantine are not true,” the South Carolina National Guard post said. “Rumors like this can create confusion and anxiety in the organization and our communities.”

“If you hear or see something that seems unfounded, do not continue spreading the information. Verify that information with one of the official sources pertaining to the National Guard Bureau, the South Carolina National Guard, and the state of South Carolina.”

Jack Phillips and Reuters contributed to this report.