Some Asshole Tried to Burn Down the National Archives

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An unidentified person flees the scene after setting the National Archives Building on fire April 25, 2019
Gif: NARA/YouTube

An unidentified asshole set fire to the U.S. National Archives Building in Washington, D.C. last night around 8:00 pm ET. Thankfully, no one was hurt, but the building suffered some damage on an outside wall and the perpetrator hasn’t been captured.

The suspect placed a gas container on the Pennsylvania Avenue side of the building before setting the container ablaze. The National Archives released security camera footage of the arsonist on YouTube, and the suspect appears to be wearing a dark jacket, dark pants, and possibly a gray hood that obscured the side of their face.


“Security officers discovered the blaze and unsuccessfully attempted to put it out, but a fire department responded and was able to extinguish the flames. Facilities staff are cleaning the area today,” the National Archives said in a statement posted to its website today.

“The incident is under investigation by multiple agencies, including the NARA Office of the Inspector General,” the National Archives said in a statement.


Why would someone want to set fire to the National Archives? We don’t know for sure, but we can say with some certainty that they’re a bad person.

The building first opened in 1935 and is home to some of the country’s most important historical records. The National Archives is a vital institution for researchers around the world who are looking for everything from important presidential papers to historically significant photos. It even houses the Declaration of Independence, the U.S. Constitution, the Articles of Confederation, and the Bill of Rights.


Anyone with information about the arsonist is encouraged to contact the NARA OIG hotline by phone at 1-800-786-2551 or by sending a tip via the National Archives website.