Thick black smoke billowed from a fire Wednesday in Vice President Dick Cheney's suite of offices in the historic Eisenhower Executive Office Building next to the White House.
Cheney's office was damaged by smoke and water from fire hoses, White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said. The vice president was not in the building at the time; he was in the West Wing of the White House with President Bush.
More than 1,000 people who work in the building were evacuated. The fire broke out on the second floor of the building around about 9:15 a.m. and was under control within a half hour, District of Columbia fire department spokesman Alan Etter said.
Afterward, Bush and Cheney appeared on West Executive Avenue, between the White House and the damaged building, to thank District of Columbia firefighters. A fire tanker nearby still had its ladder extended to a window on the blackened second floor.
The blaze was in Cheney's suite of ceremonial offices. His working office is in the West Wing. Secret Service spokesman Darrin Blackford said the building was evacuated as a precaution. District of Columbia firefighters poured water on the blaze, broke windows and moved furniture onto a balcony.
One treated and released
There were no reports of serious injuries, Etter said. A U.S. Marine stationed at the building smashed a fifth-floor window to escape from the smoke and had to be rescued from the ledge, he said. The man suffered a minor cut to his hand.
The building remained evacuated while firefighters ventilated the smoke, Etter said. The displaced employees were sent to other offices or went home.
The extent of water, fire and smoke damage was unclear.
Investigators were working to determine the cause of the blaze, Etter said. The smoke appeared to come from an electrical closet on the building's second floor.
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.