Russell Building Evacuated After Fire

Saturday night incident under investigation, building still closed Sunday

A fire broke out in the Russell Senate Office Building Saturday night. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Fire and smoke in the Russell Senate Office Building prompted an evacuation Saturday night. The building remains closed Sunday morning.

Capitol Police and the Architect of the Capitol personnel are conducting an investigation and all other personnel will be restricted from entering the building.

Smoke was reported in a number of locations in Russell just after 6 p.m. Saturday night and D.C. Fire and EMS were called to investigate. The smoke was light, according to D.C. Fire, but it signaled that something was wrong in the building. 

D.C. Fire personnel found electrical motors in the Russell attic that had burned up and activated the sprinkler system, according to Vito Maggiolo, Public Information Officer for D.C. Fire. He said the sprinkler system had already extinguished the small fire, which was completely confined to the attic area of the building.

DC Fire personnel worked with Capitol Police to ventilate smoke from the building before leaving the scene around 10 p.m. The evacuation of the Russell Buildingby Capitol Police was completed  by about 10:30 p.m. Saturday, but the building remains closed.

One person from the fire department who had an existing medical condition was hospitalized for observation.  

“Reentry to the building is not permitted until further notice so all existing hazards can be cleared,” according to an alert sent by Capitol Police late Saturday night.

Clean up efforts by Capitol Police and the Architect of the Capitol continued into Sunday morning.

Russell also was evacuated at about 2 a.m.Friday due to an “audible alarm,” but that situation was cleared up in  about an hour.

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