Fire At CIA Headquarters
Ruled Accidental

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A fire at CIA headquarters that prompted the evacuation of the building where the spy agency's top officials have offices was accidental and caused about $100,000 worth of damage, a fire department spokesman said on Wednesday.
"The fire was ruled accidental,'' said Lt. Lorenzo Thrower, spokesman for the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department in Virginia.
The fire, detected about 5:45 p.m. EDT on Tuesday, was contained in about 30 minutes, authorities said.
It started when hot material from a torch that workers were using to do repairs on the top floor of the building fell through the ventilation system into a small utility closet where combustible wooden shelves caught on fire, Thrower said.
"There were enough flames where it created an enormous amount of smoke throughout the building,'' especially because it traveled through the ventilation system, he said.
Twelve CIA employees were treated at the scene for smoke inhalation, Thrower said. Two others and one firefighter were taken to the hospital for treatment, he said.
CIA Director George Tenet was not inside the building at the time of the fire.
The CIA's 24-hour operations center, which keeps in touch with the agency's overseas offices and gathers information on developments around the globe of national security concern, was operating from a temporary site on the sprawling CIA compound in suburban Langley, Virginia, CIA spokesman Mark Mansfield said.
The President's Daily Brief, which the CIA delivers early in the morning to the president and a small group of high-level government officials, was dispatched as usual, he said.
Only "essential'' employees were required to come to work on Wednesday, but everyone was expected to be back at work on Thursday, Mansfield said.

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