A wind-whipped two-alarm fire that broke out around midnight on the roof of the landmark Government Printing Office building sent smoke into the floors below and forced suspension of printing operations and the evacuation of about 1,200 employes, authorities said.

Although it appeared for a time that the smoke might delay or prevent publication of today's editions of the Congressional Record, employes began returning to the building about 1:30 a.m.

"We'll deliver on time," Ralph E. Kennickell Jr., the Public Printer, said about 2:30 a.m. today.

The fire, which broke out in a wooden air-conditioning tower on the west side of the red brick, Romanesque-style building at North Capitol and G streets brought about 20 pieces of fire equipment to the scene, and closed surrounding streets to traffic.

One firefighter suffered a slight injury during cleanup operations, fire officials said.

D.C. fire officials declared the blaze under control at 12:45 a.m., about 40 minutes after the first alarm was sounded. They said high winds hampered firefighting operations and a second alarm was sounded about 10 minutes after the first.

The cause of the fire was not immediately known, and fire officials provided no estimate of property damage.

The fire destroyed a cooling tower for an air-conditioning system that was used until last summer, according to Burkey W. Boggs, assistant public printer for night operations. He said plans already were in the works to replace the system, and a contractor had been studying how it could be torn down.

Heating and cooling ducts "sucked a lot of smoke into the lower floors of the building," Boggs said. As smoke alarms sounded, all but a few employes needed to aid firefighters and operate a command post were evacuated.

Boggs said special flashing lights alerted the substantial number of deaf employes in the building.

"Everything was pretty calm," Boggs said. "We practice evacuating the building."

Presses, located on the second and fifth floors, were rolling at the time of the blaze, turning out copies of documents including the Federal Register and an Internal Revenue Service publication entitled Your Federal Income Tax.

Early this morning, before employes began returning to the building, Boggs had said the blaze "very well could affect production of the Congressional Record," for which press operations sometimes begin as early as 4 or 5 a.m.

However, Kennickell said later that "other than a little smoke problem and some very minor water damage, we're in good shape.

"I've asked people to go back and hit it real hard," he said.

He said that the printing office had a "heavy load of {Congressional} bills to do tonight," in addition to the Record, a journal of the daily activities of congress.

But he added, "The GPO will deliver tomorrow. This didn't hurt us that bad."