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Updated: Small Fire Reported In Churchill Auditorium

Students and staff at Churchill were evacuated as Montgomery County Fire officials responded to a small fire in the Potomac high school's auditorium.

UPDATED, 4:30 p.m.: A small fire in the auditorium of Winston Churchill High School has been extinguished, according to Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Capt. Oscar Garcia.

Students and staff members at the Potomac high school were safely evacuated and remained outside as MCFR officials continued to check the building and remove smoke from the auditorium.

At 12:46 p.m., students and staff were allowed to re-enter the building after spending more than an hour outside and missing all of the school's 5th period classes.

According to Churchill students on the scene, the fire alarm was pulled and students could tell it wasn't just a drill. The school has fire drills once per month for about 10-20 minutes, the students said.

"The kids reactions were all very confused. No one knew what was actually going on except that there was a fire in the auditorium," said Eliza Farha, a student at Churchill. "The teachers made sure that everyone was kept safe and far away from the school until we were allowed to go back in."

Farha said that while students felt well-prepared because of previous drills, today's alarm was a little confusing because it came during lunch when drills aren't usually scheduled.

Classes normally held around the area of the auditorium were moved to the cafeteria to finish out the day, after students returned to the school.

MCFR received a call at approximately 11:30 a.m. to report the fire near the podium in Churchill's auditorium, Garcia said. Firefighters arrived on the scene seven minutes later.

The fire broke out at an electrical cord near a podium in the school's auditorium, and has been ruled accidental, Garcia said. The estimated damage is $5,000.

Medical treatment was administered to two people, not in relation to the fire, Garica said.

Montgomery County Public Schools spokesperson Dana Tofig said they have no additional information.



Divya Pillai March 21, 2012 at 11:49 PM
i am a student of WCHS and to tell you the fact we are safe so Thank you !!!
Katie Griffith March 22, 2012 at 06:14 PM
We are very glad that everyone made it out of the school safely. Please make sure you are all looking out for each other's safety in another way, too. Check out this article on Internet safety and privacy, and remember that treating each other kindly on the Internet is an important part of that safety: http://potomac.patch.com/articles/attorney-general-holds-community-forum-on-internet-safety-and-privacy
Ezra Kurlansky March 22, 2012 at 07:37 PM
Hello. I was one of three students who discovered the fire, and went searching for it. It's funny, because it all started from one of use who smelled barbecue, and went searching for it. We opened the door the the back of the auditorium, and there was smoke everywhere, along with flames about the size of one of the desks at school. As soon as we saw it, we ran to the nearest classroom, opened the door, and yelled, "THERE'S A FIRE ON THE STAGE." At that point, we gathered our things and walked outside, telling people that there was a real fire.
Divya Pillai March 22, 2012 at 08:50 PM
thank u u saved our lives!!!!!
Jack March 23, 2012 at 02:56 AM
http://www.wjla.com/articles/2012/03/duncan-seguin-rockville-teen-honored-for-saving-a-life-and-his-school-74048.html This kid^

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