Small Fire Ignites at Capitol Visitor Center

Friday, December 12, 2008; 4:11 PM

A small fire broke out today in the new U.S. Capitol Visitor Center, but it was quickly contained, resulting in no evacuation or injuries at the sprawling underground tourist attraction, officials said.

A construction crew using torches to work on water pipes on the second level of the 580,000-square-foot center accidentally set fire to insulation shortly after 1 p.m., said Alan Etter, a spokesman for the D.C. fire department.

He described the damage as "negligible" and said the fire did not jeopardize any historical artifacts on display at the $621 million center, which opened Dec. 2 after six years of construction work.

-- Paul Duggan

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