Biden inauguration rehearsal evacuated after fire in homeless camp

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Members of the military band evacuate from the West Front of the U.S. Capitol during a rehearsal the 59th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Monday, Jan. 18, 2021. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Participants in a rehearsal for President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration were evacuated from the West Front of the Capitol on Monday on orders of security officials after a fire in a homeless encampment, officials said.

Those who had gathered for a walk-through, including a military band, were directed to head indoors and moved in the directed of a secure location inside the Capitol complex.

People involved in the rehearsal said security officials yelled “this is not a drill.”

Four law enforcement officials told The Associated Press there had been a blaze several blocks over and the rehearsal was evacuated in an abundance of caution. The Capitol complex and surrounding areas have been locked down after a riot there Jan. 6.

The Secret Service has since put out a statement indicating that the evacuation was done “out of an abundance of caution.

The inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden is scheduled to take place on Wednesday.

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