East Texan Watches As White House Office Goes Up In Smoke - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

12/19/2007

East Texan Watches As White House Office Goes Up In Smoke

Some tense moments Wednesday morning when a fire broke out on The White House grounds. Firefighters had to break bullet-proof glass to gain access to the fire--at the Eisenhower Executive building, right beside the West Wing.

KLTV 7's had an exclusive interview with one East Texan who just returned from an internship inside that very building. 

Just last Friday heath Clayton was in his office at the Eisenhower building saying goodbye to his friends from his white house internship

"Some White house council and speech writing offices down there. My office window is right about there," said Heath, "This morning I turned on the TV and saw that it was on fire. It was just unbelievable. Immediately I got on my email and emailed a few of my friends that ere interns last semester."

"My first reaction was wow I'm glad I'm not there but my second reaction was to make sure everyone was okay. I was really glad they said there were no injuries," said Heath.

Heath grew up in Tyler and moved to D.C. last year to work at The Office of Strategic Initiatives.

"You are in these marble halls where every president has walked since the 1870's when they built it. The history that goes on in these rooms," remarked Heath, "The Indian treaty room has amazing large marble hall room used to be a library. Where the first televised press conference was. It would be just tragic if that room was damaged."

Damage from the smoke and water that Heath is sure will hinder operations at his former offices.

"The national security council offices are there, lots of White House council offices are there, speech writing offices are there," said Heath, "It has always been symbolic, it's the White House you know. It's not supposed to catch on fire. It just kinda messes with your mind to see the smoke pouring out of it."

A place where Heath hopes to someday return.

"I hope to someday work in the Eisenhower building or the West Wing. It is a very exciting place," said Heath.

Vice president Dick Cheney and the president, were in meetings in the oval office when the fire broke out.

Investigators are looking at an electrical closet or a telephone bank as the possible cause.

Danielle Capper, Reporting. dcapper@kltv.com

 

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