Rep. Jamaal Bowman Pulls House Fire Alarm, Claims It Was a Mistake

New York Democratic Rep. Jamaal Bowman accepted responsibility for inadvertently setting off a fire alarm on Saturday in the Cannon House Office Building, a part of the U.S. Capitol complex. The incident occurred during critical moments when legislators were rushing to approve a government funding bill prior to the midnight deadline.

The alarm, which went off around noon, led to a complete evacuation of the building while the House was in session. An hour later, the Capitol Police declared the building safe, and operations resumed.

An image shared by the GOP-led House Administration Committee showed an individual, looking like Bowman, engaging the fire alarm.

Bowman clarified to the media that his action was unintentional. He was in a hurry to cast his vote and mistakenly pulled the alarm, thinking it would open a door that was uncharacteristically closed because of the weekend.

He stated emphatically that his actions weren’t aimed at causing any delay. “It was purely a mistake,” Bowman said.

A representative for Bowman issued a statement to The Associated Press, expressing regret for any misunderstanding caused.

Late on Saturday, the Capitol Police mentioned that their probe into the incident is ongoing.

During the evacuation, House Democrats were discussing the possibility of postponing the vote on a short-term funding bill. They wanted additional time to examine the 71-page document that Republicans had suddenly introduced to prevent a government shutdown. Eventually, the funding proposal was ratified with a 335-91 vote in the afternoon. A majority from both parties, including Bowman, endorsed the bill.

Following the approval, several Republicans, led by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy of California, condemned Bowman’s accidental triggering of the alarm. Some even considered proposing a motion to either censure or expel Bowman from the House.

Labeling the episode as “shameful,” McCarthy stated his intent to consult with House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries from New York to discuss potential consequences.

However, after a meeting with Jeffries post the voting session, Bowman indicated that Jeffries was understanding of the mishap. “He recognized it for what it was – a simple error,” Bowman remarked.

Bowman further suggested that the criticism from McCarthy and certain Republicans was unfounded. He said, “Their portrayal of my rush to vote as something sinister is nothing more than an attempt to exploit an innocent mistake.”