Man Indicted for Fire Outside National Archives
Press Release · Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Washington, DC


A defendant was indicted by a grand jury yesterday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on one count of arson stemming from a fire set at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. on or about April 25, 2019.  The building, located at 700 Pennsylvania Avenue, Washington, D.C. is where the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) keeps and displays some of the federal government’s most important records, including the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.

The National Archives building opened in 1935. It is a monumental structure with highly decorative architectural features, giant Corinthian columns, 38-foot bronze doors, and inscriptions representing the building's historical importance.  On February 20,1933, departing President Herbert Hoover laid the cornerstone of the building in a ceremony. Hoover dedicated it in the name of the people of the United States and proclaimed, "This temple of our history will appropriately be one of the most beautiful buildings in America, an expression of the American soul. It will be one of the most durable, an expression of the American character."

The museum at the building is a popular attraction, which receives over a million visitors each year.

“The safety of NARA’s visitors and holdings is NARA’s paramount priority, and we take all threats and actions against our buildings seriously.” said James Springs, the NARA Inspector General.

“We are exceptionally thankful to NARA’s Office of Inspector General and all of the other law enforcement officers and agencies who tirelessly worked to identify a suspect,” said Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero.

An indictment is not a finding of guilt.  An individual charged by indictment is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty at some later criminal proceeding.


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This page was last reviewed on May 7, 2019.
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