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.