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WHITE HOUSE OFFICES CLEARED

West Wing smoke alarm triggered by transformer

  • White-House-Smoke

    District of Columbia fire rigs and personnel stage near the Eisenhower Executive Office Building and the West Wing as firefighters answer the White House call.

    <ASSOCIATED PRESS

  • White-House-Smoke

    Members of the White House security detail, including members of the Secret Service, stand by at the entrance to the West Wing after its evacuation Saturday. District of Columbia firefighters responded in search of the source of the smoke.

    <ASSOCIATED PRESS

White-House-Smoke

District of Columbia fire rigs and personnel stage near the Eisenhower Executive Office Building and the West Wing as firefighters answer the White House call.

ASSOCIATED PRESS Enlarge

WASHINGTON — White House offices were evacuated briefly on Saturday when an electrical transformer near the West Wing malfunctioned and set off a smoke alarm, a White House official said.

White-House-Smoke

Members of the White House security detail, including members of the Secret Service, stand by at the entrance to the West Wing after its evacuation Saturday. District of Columbia firefighters responded in search of the source of the smoke.

ASSOCIATED PRESS Enlarge

A Secret Service official said President Obama was not in the area at the time.

“The transformer problem was quickly resolved. Electricity and personnel access to the West Wing has returned to normal. The First Family was unaffected,” the official said.

Firefighters responded and staff were evacuated briefly, the Secret Service official said. “That’s typical that we would ask everyone to step out,” he said.

Later Saturday, Mr. Obama led a White House ceremony to honor U.S. police officers for everyday acts of courage. He said America need look no further than the Boston Marathon bombings to know of what police are made.

“Police officers ... running toward explosions not knowing if there was something more on the way. Law enforcement from different agencies in different parts of the country working together as one united team to identify suspects and bring them to justice.

“We don’t always get that opportunity to stand and applaud the men and women who keep us safe,” Mr. Obama said. “But they’re out there — hundreds of thousands of you patrolling our streets every single day.”

He was flanked by award recipients, many in uniform, with families, friends, and other officers in the East Room.

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