Dana Perino, White House spokeswoman, said the fire began in an electrical room, electrical cabinet or telephone bank.

She said the wood flooring in Cheney’s ceremonial office was now "mostly underwater" and that the suite suffered smoke damage.

'Under control'

About an hour after the blaze was reported, Kenneth Crosswhite, Washington fire chief, said emergency workers had the situation "under control".

"It is still too early [to determine a cause of the fire]; we have to investigate ...[But] there is no terrorist attack," he said.

Crosswhite said the blaze had been confined to room 274, which Cheney aides confirmed to be his ceremonial office.

White House officials later said that the fire had struck down the hall.

The Eisenhower Office is on the White House grounds, which are ringed by a fence.

The US Secret Service monitors all activity inside the fence's perimeter.

Constructed between 1871 and 1888, the building also contains offices of the National Security Council and the Office of Management and Budget.