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The compound's agents were alerted by loud noises, gunfire and explosions near the front gate. A barracks near the entrance for the local militiamen was burned down. In the control center, agents watched on cameras as a large group of armed men flowed into the compound. They immediately sounded the alarm and made telephone calls to the embassy in Tripoli, officials in Washington, the Libyan authorities and the U.S. quick reaction force located at a second compound a little over a mile away. One agent, armed with a sidearm and an assault rifle, took Stevens and State Department computer specialist Sean Smith to a safe room inside one of the compound's two main residences - an area protected by a heavy metal grill and several locks and stocked with medical supplies and water. The other agents rushed to equip themselves with long guns, body armor, helmets and ammunition at other buildings. Two tried to make it to the building with Stevens but took fire and were forced to retreat. The attackers began to overrun the compound, the officials recounted. The intruders penetrated Stevens' building and tried to break the grill locks for the safe room but couldn't gain access. So they dumped cans of diesel fuel in the building, lit furniture on fire and set aflame part of the exterior of the building.