If we needed any indication of how tense the atmosphere still is on Capitol Hill nearly two weeks after the shocking riots that interrupted the Electoral College certification and left five people dead, it was Monday's false alarm.
Capitol reporters were sent into a frenzy on Monday after the United States Capitol Police announced that the area was on lockdown due to an "external security threat."
USCP: Due to an external security threat under the bridge on I-295 at First and F Streets SE, staff and other personnel are directed to avoid coming to the Capitol Complex area until further notice. All personnel currently on the Capitol Complex are advised to stay indoors— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) January 18, 2021
West Front of Capitol being evacuated. This is where the inauguration is scheduled for Wednesday. Keep in mind this is with tens of thousands of troops guarding the Capitol— Chad Pergram (@ChadPergram) January 18, 2021
Overhead announcement in the Capitol: due to an external security threat, stay where you are. Stay away from doors and windows.— Garrett Haake (@GarrettHaake) January 18, 2021
As it turns out, the "threat" was a small fire at a nearby homeless encampment that has since been extinguished.
Things seem to be OK at the Capitol. DC Fire's Vito Maggiolo says the incident involved a small fire involving tent that is now out. DC fire was dispatched at 10:14 and the fire was put out. He said the response was "very minimal" and it was "pretty much a non-incident."— Manu Raju (@mkraju) January 18, 2021
BREAKING: Guard source tells me a propane tank exploded at a homeless camp near the Capitol. Several other propane tanks have been spotted laying around and are being investigated by police.— Lara Seligman (@laraseligman) January 18, 2021
WASHINGTON (AP) — Officials say evacuation at inaugural rehearsal was due to a fire several blocks away and not believed to be a threat.— Samantha-Jo Roth (@SamanthaJoRoth) January 18, 2021
Public safety and law enforcement responded to a small fire in the area of 1st and F streets SE, Washington, D.C. that has been extinguished. Out of an abundance of caution the U.S. Capitol complex was temporarily shutdown. There is no threat to the public. pic.twitter.com/kQfAI4NxNK— U.S. Secret Service (@SecretService) January 18, 2021
Considering the violence that occurred on January 6, it's no wonder why folks would fear the worst.
President-elect Joe Biden is to be sworn in this Wednesday at 12 p.m. ET. There are five times the number of National Guard troops in the nation's capital this week then there are in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to reports.
We will update this story as more information becomes available.