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Police Evacuate Capitol, CVC After Fire Alarm Goes Off

Capitol Police stand guard Tuesday outside the Capitol. (Hannah Hess/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 1:24 p.m. | Police evacuated the Capitol Tuesday after a fire alarm went off in the Capitol Visitor Center.  

According to a source close to the investigation, "exhaust fan issues" caused the smoke to appear in a room in the CVC around 12:20 p.m., prompting Capitol Police officers to evacuate both that building and the Capitol. Washington D.C., fire officials were called to the scene to assist police and "are continuing to investigate the cause of an audible alarm," according to Lt. Kimberly Schneider, a Capitol Police spokeswoman, who also said there were no signs of smoke or fire.  

The alarm stopped sounding just after 1 p.m. At around 1:18 p.m., the evacuation order was lifted and staffers, Capitol employees and reporters headed back inside after spending about 45 minutes on the sunny lawn. The CVC remained closed.  

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