A propane tank exploded at a homeless camp near the U.S. Capitol building today, prompting a swift evacuation of the Capitol and the cancellation of the inauguration rehearsal planned today ahead of Joe Biden’s ascension on Wednesday.
Initially news outlets reported that “The Capitol Complex has gone on lockdown amid an ‘external security threat’ and individuals were urged to “stay inside and away from windows” due to “‘an external security threat under the bridge on I-295.”
The Capitol Complex has gone on lockdown amid an “external security threat.”
United States Capitol Police urged people in the Capitol to stay inside and away from windows “due to an external security threat under the bridge on I-295.”https://t.co/XEV7wPVk9A https://t.co/0WuF3wCZSS
— Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) January 18, 2021
However, it was quickly determined that the smoke, which appeared to be billowing from just beyond the vaunted halls of the U.S. Capitol, was actually from a nearby homeless encampment.
When one reporter quoted a “Guard source” who informed her “a propane tank exploded at a homeless camp near the Capitol,” a citizen journalist confirmed the report with a video showing the homeless camp set ablaze.
Witnessed it, this is correct. Series of small explosions constant with small propane tank rupture pic.twitter.com/S4LsRww0DE
— Nate Taylor (@NateTaylorDC) January 18, 2021
Regardless, Biden’s inauguration rehearsal has been cancelled, and it appears it will not resume today due to the fire. Biden was not participating in the rehearsal, and neither were any prominent individuals who are expected to attend, including outgoing Vice President Mike Pence.
President Donald Trump has already confirmed he will not attend Biden’s inauguration, and has planned a competing event with the military in Maryland.
It is unclear why the homeless camp was allowed to remain so near the Capitol Complex after 20,000 National Guard soldiers descended on Washington, D.C. and built barricades throughout the city following the Capitol Hill protest on January 6.