Thick, black smoke is rising from the chimney of the Russian consulate in San Francisco reports the Associated Press.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Smoke seen pouring from chimney at Russian consulate in San Francisco after Trump administration orders its closure.
— Julie Pace (@jpaceDC) September 1, 2017
— Justin Sullivan (@sullyfoto) September 1, 2017
The suspicious development occurs a day after the Trump administration ordered the closing of the consulate in retaliation for Russia expelling numerous U.S. diplomats from its borders. It is the oldest Russian consulate in the United States.
Firefighters who arrived at the consulate expecting a fire were barred entry from the building, reports ABC News. They were told that everything was fine inside and that the Russians were burning unidentified objects in the fireplace. The fire certainly is not to provide heat to the occupants, because San Francisco’s temperature had already reached 95 degrees by noon.
“It was not unintentional. They were burning something in their fireplace,” Mindy Talamadge, a spokeswoman for the fire department said, according to ABC.
It’s worth noting that consulates are often used as bases of operation for foreign spy networks, as they provide privacy to work and conduct surveillance.
Rob Haffey is a writer, filmmaker, and winner of the ScreenCraft Writing Fellowship. He is a graduate of Drexel University.