Photos courtesy of Mckinley Lettre. Video courtesy of Gia Lynn

Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School was forced to dismiss early Wednesday when the school’s sprinkler system activated, soaking parts of the inside of the building.

Montgomery County Public Schools spokeswoman Gboyinde Onijala said in an interview that students were evacuated at 1:30 p.m. when the fire alarm was triggered by a sprinkler that activated in a classroom.

Onijala said students were cleared for reentry at 2 p.m., but the alarm sounded a second time later.

Senior Lauren Hodges said in an interview that the first sprinkler activation happened during sixth period, when sprinklers went off on the third floor, where her friends were in classes. Hodges said they evacuated, and firefighters cleared students to enter at the beginning of seventh period.


A video taken by a student shows a sprinkler showering water inside an evacuated classroom.

When students got back to their seventh-period classes, a fire alarm went off a second time a short time later and students evacuated, Hodges said. She said she and her friends thought they smelled gas at the front entrance of the school.


“We were kind of nervous because no one knew what was going on,” she said.

During the second evacuation, Hodges said teachers gave permission for students to go home because it was almost 2:30 p.m., which is normally the end of the school day.

The school was open on Thursday.


Bethesda Beat intern Parker Theis contributed to this report. This story will be updated.

Dan Schere can be reached at