Soviet firefighters returned to the blackened U.S. Embassy on Friday to douse hot spots that reignited a day after a blaze severely damaged the building and disrupted sensitive communications.

The new flames were quickly extinguished, said spokesman James Bullock, and embassy section chiefs were allowed into the building to retrieve essential papers and assess the damage.No one was seriously injured in the original fire on Thursday, but many of the 200 employees had harrowing escapes.

About 18 staffers raced from offices high in the 10-story building down the central stairway as it rapidly filled with smoke, said one employee who spoke on condition he not be identified.

When they opened a door on the ground floor, they found themselves staring at a wall of flames, he said. Veering to the right, they were trapped in a courtyard between the fire and the 20-foot embassy wall.