Inauguration Rehearsal Evacuated, Capitol on Lockdown for 'External Threat'
2021 Inauguration Smoke Seen Near the Capitol ... Rehearsal Hits Pause to Evacuate
1/18/2021 8:08 AM PT
Staging preparations for Joe Biden's inauguration were interrupted Monday morning when smoke billowed up nearby ... prompting a lockdown of Capitol Hill.
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 @JProskowGlobal
As multiple groups were meeting to practice for the festivities on Wednesday, smoke was seen rising up behind the Capitol Building ... forcing an evacuation.
According to reports ... Capitol Hill staffers received a message warning of an "external security threat" prior to the dress rehearsal for the inauguration.
Everyone was ordered back inside and instructed to stay away from windows and doors and seek cover if outside.
The good news -- the D.C. Fire Dept. located the fire and put it out ... and nobody was hurt. Our sources say the fire was started at a homeless encampment and is no longer viewed as any sort of threat.
Of course, there is a very strong security presence everywhere in the area -- bolstered by some 20,000 National Guard troops -- and the brief evacuation is a sign of the high alert that remains since the Jan. 6 Capitol riots.
The U.S. Marine Band practices ahead of the 59th Inauguration rehearsal pic.twitter.com/eUeA6GOZOY— Jasper Colt (@jaspercolt) January 18, 2021 @jaspercolt
Seems all is well now though ... check out the U.S. Marine Band earlier today warming up its horn section.