White House West Wing Evacuated After Smoke Alarm

Officials: Mechanical room transformer overheated

Saturday, May 11, 2013  |  Updated 10:17 AM EDT
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White House West Wing Evacuated After Smoke Alarm

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The Secret Service gave the all-clear shortly before 9 a.m.

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Reporters and photographers were briefly evacuated from the West Wing of the White House early Saturday because of smoke from a faulty piece of equipment.

U.S. Secret Service spokesman Max Milien says that at about 7 a.m., smoke was seen coming out of a mechanical room closet on the first floor. NBC News White House Correspondent Peter Alexander tweeted that a guard said to him and his colleagues: “You gotta leave, there’s smoke.”

Journalists and others were evacuated out of  "an abundance of caution" and the District of Columbia fire department was called. People were allowed back into the building about an hour later. The Secret Service gave the all-clear shortly after 8:30 p.m.

Officials say a transformer in the mechanical room overheated.

No injuries were reported and White House officials say President Barack Obama and his family were not affected by the incident. It's unclear where the President and his family actually were at the time.
 

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