Fire at homeless camp puts US Capitol on brief lockdown

WASHINGTON (Sputnik): Increased security measures have been introduced on Capitol Hill in the wake of the 6 January riots, during which some protesters from the pro-Trump “Stop the Steal” rally stormed the Congress to stop the certification of the election results.

The US Capitol was put on lockdown and blocked for entry and exit over an “external security threat”. Capitol Police have issued a warning to House and Senate offices asking people to stay away from exterior windows and doors and seek cover should the notice have been issued while they were outside a building.

Several videos and photos have emerged on social media showing smoke rising from behind the US Capitol building. Capitol Police have issued a statement saying that there are no fires “within the Capitol campus”.

The inauguration rehearsal, which was taking place at Capitol Hill at the time, has been cancelled, with participants evacuated by security officials. Security officials later explained that the evacuation was prompted by a fire that started at a nearby homeless encampment.