Authorities search for arsonist who set fire outside of National Archives in Washington

The National Archives houses beloved historical documents such as the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

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By Safia Samee Ali

Authorities are searching for a suspect who intentionally started a fire outside the National Archives, the building that houses beloved historical documents such as the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, officials said on Friday.

The incident occurred around 8 p.m. on Thursday night when an "arsonist placed a gas container on the left side of the building on Pennsylvania Avenue and lit it on fire," said the Archives in a statement. "Security officers discovered the blaze and unsuccessfully attempted to put it out, but a fire department responded and was able to extinguish the flames."

There were no injuries, but the side exterior wall of the building did sustain damages, officials said.

National Archives security tried to put out the fire but it was too hot. D.C. Fire and EMS responded and extinguished the fire by about 8 p.m. on April 25, 2019.National Archives

Nearby surveillance footage captured the arsonist, an individual wearing dark pants and dark jacket over a light-colored hooded shirt with the hood up, walking up to the building, performing the act and quickly running away, according to the Archives.

The incident is under investigation by multiple agencies, including the National Archives Records Administration's Office of the Inspector General.