Fire Breaks Out at Vice President Cheney's Office

Thick smoke billows from the White House compound in the Executive Office Building after an apparent electrical fire breaks out. The building is the ceremonial office of Vice President Dick Cheney. The vice president was across the street in his West Wing office when the fire was discovered.

Secret Service spokesman Darrin Blackford says the building, a national historic landmark, was evacuated as a precaution.

Fire at Old Executive Office Building at White House

Thick smoke billowed from the White House compound in the Executive Office Building Wednesday after an apparent electrical fire was triggered near the second-story ceremonial office of Vice President Dick Cheney.

Cheney's office was damaged by smoke and water from fire hoses, White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said. The vice president was not in the building at the time; he was in the West Wing of the White House with President Bush.

Secret Service spokesman Darrin Blackford said the Old Executive Office building, a national historic landmark, was evacuated as a precaution.

District of Columbia firefighters poured water on the blaze and moved furniture from the building onto a balcony.

Afterward, Bush and Cheney appeared on West Executive Avenue, between the White House and the damaged building, to thank District of Columbia firefighters. A fire tanker nearby still had its ladder extended to a window on the blackened second floor.

The Executive Office Building houses the Office of Management and Budget and staff of the National Security Council and other agencies.

There were no reports of serious injuries. A U.S. Marine stationed at the building smashed a fifth-floor window to escape from the smoke and had to be rescued from the ledge, he said. The man suffered a minor cut to his hand.

"Everyone has been evacuated safely," White House spokeswoman Emily Lawrimore said.

The Executive Office Building, a commanding structure with a granite, slate and cast iron exterior at the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and 17th Street, houses the Office of Management and Budget and staff of the National Security Council and other agencies.

Originally built for the State, War and Navy Departments between 1871 and 1888, the building was renamed in honor of President Dwight Eisenhower during the Clinton administration.

From NPR reports and The Associated Press

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