White House lockdown triggered by burning truck cleared

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White House lockdown triggered by burning truck cleared
Quite a scare at the White House, after a vender truck became engulfed in flames, creating a loud bang. The White House was put on security lockdown just before the First Family was to travel to Selma, Alabama. The press were told to go back inside. An hour later, the Obamas left the White House by motorcade instead of Marine One to get to Air Force One en route to Selma, Alabama. President Obama is in Selma to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a civil rights march.
Police and fire vehicles are seen along 15th street NW near the White House, near a vendor cart that caught on fire Saturday, March 7, 2015 in Washington. Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary says a vendor cart caught fire around 10 a.m. at 15th and G streets. He says firefighters responded and contained the blaze. The fire delayed the departure of President Barack Obama and the first family who are traveling to Selma, Ala., to help commemorate the 50th anniversary of "Bloody Sunday." (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
WASHINGTON , DC - FEBRUARY 7: Security officers patrol the area after a man tried to jump the fence on February 7, 2014 in Washington, United States. The White House has been put on lockdown after a man was caught trying to climb the fence. (Photo by Basri Sahin/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Secret Service officers search the south grounds of the White House in Washington, Monday, Jan. 26, 2015. A device, possibly an unmanned aerial drone, was found on the White House grounds during the middle of the night while President Barack Obama and the first lady were in India, but his spokesman said Monday that it posed no threat. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

(Reuters) - A security lockdown at the White House triggered by a loud bang just as President Barack Obama was due to leave was caused by a souvenir truck catching fire in a nearby street, the Secret Service said on Saturday.

The security alert happened just moments before Obama and his family had been due to board a helicopter from the presidential mansion's South Lawn for Andrews Air Force Base.

Secret Service spokesman Brian Leary said the fire had been contained and a vehicle near the White House was investigated and cleared after a bomb-sniffing dog detected something on it.

Obama and his family left the White House by motorcade instead of helicopter an hour later and boarded Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base.

The Obamas are traveling to Selma, Alabama, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a civil rights march.

Several streets around the White House were closed for a few hours but reopened soon after noon. White House tours were also interrupted but resumed in late morning after the vehicle identified by the dog team was cleared, the Secret Service said.

The souvenir truck, which belonged to a Korean family from Virginia who do not speak English, was completely destroyed by the fire, according to a Reuters reporter at the scene.

Over the past few months, the White House has come under several lockdowns, mostly caused by intruders jumping the fence.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason and Sandra Maler; Additional reporting by Valerie Volcovici; Editing by Gareth Jones and David Clarke)

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