A grease fire at O’Donovan Hall forced hundreds of students and parents to evacuate the cafeteria Sunday afternoon, but officials reported that there were no injuries and only minimal water damage to the building.

The fire, which interrupted the farewell brunch for Senior Parents Weekend just after noon, started behind an omelet grill on the dining hall’s lower level, setting off the kitchen’s sprinkler system as well as fire alarms throughout the building.

Multiple fire engines responded to the scene, and many firefighters remained on scene for close to an hour.

“I heard a rumble, and then I saw an orange glow in the grill section,” Nicholaus Nelson-Goedert (COL ’10), who was downstairs in the cafeteria, said.

“People in the kitchen started running away,” said Lauren Botteron, who was visiting a friend on campus.*

Greg Crawford, a firefighter in the D.C. Fire Department said the sprinklers put out the fire by the time firefighters responded – five minutes after receiving an emergency call.

Crawford added that the building did not appear to sustain significant damage, though some water from sprinklers in the grill room spilled into the dining area. Diners reentered the upstairs of the cafeteria at around 1 p.m. after more than 45 minutes outdoors, though fire alarms continued to sound intermittently for at least another half-hour. The bottom floor reopened for dinner later that evening.

Anita Hossain (MSB ’07) said that many people continued to eat when the alarms first sounded, but that the evacuation went smoothly once diners realized the alarm was not a drill.

“We thought, `This is Georgetown. [This happens] all the time,'” she said.

Trays filled with food were left abandoned at buffet lines, and some parents said they felt more inconvenienced than worried by the evacuation.

“When the kitchen staff came upstairs, we said, ‘OK, we gotta go,'” said Anne Solecki, mother of Peter Solecki (COL ’07), a member of THE HOYA’s editorial board. “What are you going to do? These things happen.”

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