Fire Causes Minor Damage at Rayburn

A small fire broke out late last night in an electrical closet in the sub-basement of the Rayburn House Office Building on Capitol Hill, triggering an evacuation and causing minor damage, authorities said.

The fire began shortly before 11 p.m. and was extinguished within about 10 minutes, said Michael Lauer, a spokesman for the U.S. Capitol Police. Damage was confined to three storage rooms, he said.

Two Capitol Police officers were treated for smoke inhalation at the scene, Lauer said.

A fire detector alerted Capitol Police, who patrol the office building, Lauer said. Dozens of employees, including the custodial staff and police, evacuated the building and stood outside on the cool fall night as firefighters entered the building. Workers were allowed back in early this morning.

Lauer said the cause of the fire is under investigation. The building was expected to be open for business today.

Teachers Win Surprise Awards

A Fairfax County elementary school principal, two D.C. elementary school teachers and a Prince George's County elementary school teacher each received a $25,000 award this week from the Milken Family Foundation.

Foundation and education officials presented the unrestricted awards during surprise assemblies at each winner's school.

The foundation's National Educator Awards are designed to reward teachers, principals and administrators who promote excellence and innovation in public education. Recipients are recommended by their state's department of education.

Among 100 nationwide, the Washington area recipients are:

* Deborah L. Tyler, principal at Pine Spring Elementary School in the Falls Church area of Fairfax County.

* Patricia C. LaPorte, a prekindergarten and kindergarten teacher at Tyler Elementary School in Southeast Washington.

* Laura S. Provenzano Hills, a second-grade teacher at Francis Scott Key Elementary in Northwest Washington.

* Anthony Whittington, a reading resource teacher at Longfields Elementary School in Forestville.

Since the awards were established in 1985, the foundation has distributed more than $50 million to 2,077 educators in 47 states.


Drugs, Alcohol Tied to Fatal Crash

Prince William County police said yesterday that they found evidence of drugs and alcohol in the car that crashed in Woodbridge early Sunday, killing its three young male occupants.

Detective Dennis Mangan, a police spokesman, said authorities discovered "a smell of alcohol in the car" and marijuana in the pockets of the driver, Weston Griggs, 17, a student at Forest Park High School in Woodbridge, and Vernon Williams Jr., 18, a Forest Park High graduate. Marshall Rawlings, 22, of Manassas Park also was killed.

All three were thrown from the vehicle, a 2000 Volkswagen Jetta, when it rammed into an electrical pole and went down an embankment about 3:50 a.m. Sunday.

Mangan said a toxicology report, to be completed in the next five days, will conclude whether any alcohol or drugs were ingested.


Students Still Barred by Lack of Shots

D.C. school officials announced yesterday that 130 students still cannot attend school because they have not been immunized or provided proof of immunization.

Most of the students -- 111 -- are supposed to be attending high school, one is a special education student and 18 are at schools for middle or high school students who have been given additional resources because of low academic achievement.

The new figure is a significant drop from the 631 students who lacked up-to-date immunization records as of Sept. 27. On Oct. 1, officials announced that the number had dropped to 434 and that they would begin referring the children's parents to Family Court, where the adults could be charged with child neglect and fined or jailed for failing to ensure that their children attend school.

Information on locations of health care clinics that provide free immunizations can be obtained by calling 800-666-2229.

Body in River Was That of Student

A body discovered Tuesday night in the Anacostia River was identified yesterday as that of Georgetown University student Robert A. Tremain, D.C. police said. Tremain, 20, of Bloomfield Hills, Mich., was presumed drowned after falling off a cabin cruiser at a Southwest Washington marina about 4:30 a.m. Friday.

Tuesday evening, D.C. police harbor patrol officers were called to an area near the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge where a body had been found.


Edwards Makes Campaign Stops

Sen. John Edwards (N.C.), the Democratic vice presidential nominee, will make a campaign appearance tomorrow in Arnold.

With the Democratic ticket enjoying a comfortable lead in most Maryland polls, both major parties have invested limited time and money in the state.

Edwards's appearance at Anne Arundel Community College is billed in part as a thank-you to volunteers who have worked in the neighboring battleground states of Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Doors open at 4:15 p.m.

Edwards also is scheduled to attend a fundraiser tomorrow night hosted by Annapolis businessman Wayne Rogers, a former Maryland Democratic Party chairman.

The earlier event is free and open to the public, but tickets are required. Democratic officials said they are available at the state party headquarters in Annapolis and other party offices in the region.

Suits Settled From Harbor Capsizing

All 24 lawsuits filed against the Living Classrooms Foundation after last spring's fatal water taxi accident in Baltimore have been settled. Five people died when a Seaport Taxi operated by Living Classrooms capsized during a sudden storm in Baltimore's harbor.

Living Classrooms officials refused to discuss terms of the settlements. The organization works with youths to help them succeed academically and in the workplace. The settlement came last week after a 19-hour negotiating session before a federal magistrate.

"The people who are responsible for running the service after hours were focused on the efficient use of trains rather than effective service to customers. . . . It's completely and utterly unacceptable."

-- James Gallagher, Metro's assistant general manager for operations, on the decision to reduce service to one train an hour as Sunday's Redskins game ended and 5,000 fans poured into the subway. -- Page B1

Compiled from reports by staff writers Ian Shapira, Sewell Chan, John Wagner, Allan Lengel and Ylan Q. Mui and the Associated Press.