- @kimberlyfaye saw the smoke from her office.
D.C. fire officials responded to a fire that broke out this morning just before 8 a.m. in an outer building of the Natural History Museum at Constitution Avenue and 9th Street NW. The fire sent a massive plume of smoke into the air, snarling traffic and forcing the evacuation of the building until mid-morning.
The fire was caused by mechanical work taking place in the small building in the parking lot of the museum, which houses heating and cooling systems. Deputy Fire Chief Ken Crosswhite said the fire did not pose any risk to the museum or its collections.
Several roads were closed in the area for much of the morning, including the 9th Street Tunnel and several lanes of Constitution Avenue, as well as Madison Drive between 7th and 12th streets NW.
The fire caused a large plume of smoke that rose higher than the Washington Monument, to the alarm of those traveling to work around the National Mall early this morning.