- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 7, 2015

The White House was temporarily locked down Saturday morning after a near-by vendor cart caught fire.

D.C. firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze, but that the executive mansion was put on lock down as a precaution around 10 a.m., ABC News reported.

President Obama had been preparing to depart Saturday morning to travel to Selma, Alabama, where he is scheduled to participate in ceremonies marking the 50th anniversary of a landmark civil rights march.

Officials did not say whether the president’s travel plans had been seriously disrupted or rescheduled because of the fire.

It’s common to see vendors, carts and trailers around the White House, especially during the summer at the peak of tourist season. Stands selling ice cream and bottled water can often be found on the sidewalks around the D.C. landmark, and large trailers selling souvenirs and food are almost always set up on the streets that border the White House, mainly 15th and 17th NW.

Reporters at the White House said President Obama and his family were preparing to depart by helicopter from the South Lawn, but were not yet outside when Secret Service responded to a loud noise that was heard.

Agents moved reporters back indoors to the White House Briefing Room and put the building on lock down, journalists said.

• Phillip Swarts can be reached at pswarts@washingtontimes.com.

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