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Smoke forces evacuation of White House press room

 

Reporters and photographers were evacuated briefly from the West Wing of the White House early Saturday because of smoke from an overheated transformer in a mechanical room.

U.S. Secret Service spokesman Max Milien said that at about 7 a.m., smoke was seen coming from a mechanical room closet on the first floor.

"Early this morning, an electrical transformer near the West Wing malfunctioned and set off a smoke alarm in the West Wing," a White House official said in a statement.

"The transformer problem was quickly resolved. Electricity and personnel access to the West Wing has returned to normal," the statement said. 

President Barack Obama and his family were not affected by the incident, according to the White House.

Journalists and others were evacuated out of "an abundance of caution" and the District of Columbia fire department was called, Milien said.

No injuries were reported and people were allowed back into the building about an hour later. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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