Hours after black smoke was reported coming from the chimney of the Russian consulate in San Francisco, people walking by Russian diplomatic building in Washington, D.C., spotted smoke and fire coming from behind the facility.
Pedestrians walking by the Trade Representative of the Russian Federation office on Connecticut Avenue NW Friday afternoon could see flames rising from the backyard of the property, which houses Russian diplomatic staff and offices.
Foreign Policy reported seeing staff "dumping what appeared to be paper into the fire." Earlier Friday, a woman climbed the building's back wall and used bolt cutters to remove security cameras.
The incidents come a day after President Trump ordered Russia minimize its diplomatic presence in the U.S. after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the U.S. to reduce its diplomatic staff in Russia by 755 employees.
San Francisco's fire department received a call Friday afternoon about smoke coming from the roof of a building. Upon arriving at the Russian consulate, the first responders were turned away by Russian officials who said they were burning unspecified items in a fireplace.
Russian state media outlet RT reported Friday that the foreign ministry said U.S. security services planned to search the San Francisco consulate Saturday.