WASHINGTON – Thick smoke hovered over the nation's capitol Wednesday after a fire broke out on the White House compound in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.
The blaze started at about 9:30 a.m. near the ceremonial office of Vice President Dick Cheney on the second floor of the building. The vice president was across the street in his office in the West Wing of the White House at the time.
The Secret Service is disputing reports that they kept firefighters from entering the building, saying that they allowed access to firefighters but the agency maintained security.
Cheney's ceremonial offices suffered massive water and smoke damage, and another staff member's office was damaged by fire. No one was hurt in the blaze.
Secret Service spokesman Darrin Blackford said the building was evacuated as a precaution. District of Columbia firefighters poured water on the flames and moved furniture from the building onto a balcony.
Secret Service spokesman Darrin Blackford said the Old Executive Office building was evacuated as a precaution. "Everyone has been evacuated safely," White House spokeswoman Emily Lawrimore said. District of Columbia firefighters poured water on the blaze and moved furniture onto a balcony.
The Executive Office Building, a commanding structure with a granite, slate and cast iron exterior at the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and 17th Street, houses the Office of Management and Budget and staff of the National Security Council and other agencies.
Originally built for the State, War and Navy Departments between 1871 and 1888, the building was renamed in honor of President Dwight Eisenhower during the Clinton administration.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.