U.S. Capitol placed under lockdown due to fire several blocks away

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The bronze Statue of Freedom, by Thomas Crawford, is the crowning feature of the dome of the U.S. Capitol, shown ahead of the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, Sunday, Jan. 17, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

WASHINGTON (CBS News) — The Capitol is on lockdown due to an “external security threat,” according to a notice issued by Capitol Police. Reports from Nexstar Media and the Associated Press, the lockdown stems from a fire several blocks away from the scene.

“All buildings within the Capitol Complex: External security threat, no entry or exit is permitted, stay away from exterior windows, doors. If outside, seek cover,” a text alert sent to staffers said. 

The announcement was also heard over loud speakers at the Capitol. Participants in a rehearsal of the inauguration on the West Front of the building were told to evacuate. The rehearsal was proceeding as normal before the announcement.

Thousands of troops are at or around the Capitol preparing for Wednesday’s inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, less than two weeks after the attack on the complex.

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