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Fire Spotted at Russian Diplomatic Building in D.C.

Fire Spotted at Russian Diplomatic Building in D.C.

A fire could be seen burning in the back of the Russian diplomatic building in Washington Friday evening, just one day after President Donald Trump ordered Moscow to scale back its diplomatic presence in the United States.

The Trade Representative of the Russian Federation, located on Connecticut Ave. in northwest Washington, is one of several diplomatic buildings being shuttered as part of a tit-for-tat with Moscow. The building serves as both an office and a residence for Russian diplomatic staff.

Smoke and flames in the back were clearly visible starting late-afternoon Friday, and staff could be seen dumping what appeared to be paper into the fire. Earlier in the day, a workman scaled a wall in the back of the building with bolt cutters and removing security cameras.

The normally quiet building was also the scene of heavy vehicle traffic coming in and out of the driveway all day. Most of the lights were on Friday evening.

The fire at the Washington diplomatic outpost followed similar reports at the Russian consulate in San Francisco, which is also being closed down. It also capped off over 24 hours of frenetic activity at the Washington building that included shouting as people moved large boxes and piles of black garbage bags into the driveway, and then quickly packed them into cars.

Russia has until Saturday to vacate the building. The Russian flag was still flying as of 9 p.m. Friday.