Phillips and Smith hall was evacuated around 6:45 p.m. Wednesday evening, after smoke was reported in the basement of the former Visitor Center.
D.C. Fire spokesman Pete Piringer said firefighters were on scene investigating the cause of the smoke.
“Where there’s smoke there’s usually fire,” Piringer said, adding that firefighters on scene were talking to sources in the building in order to investigate the smoke’s cause.
Students lined H Street in front of Starbucks and Gelman Library, and firetrucks prevented cars from passing through. Jacqui Corba said she was in class on the first floor of Smith Hall but didn’t smell any smoke.
“We were in art history class and all of a sudden the alarm went off,” Corba said.
Caleb Raymond said he was in the basement of Phillips when he heard the alarm. As he was leaving, he said he thought he smelled something but brushed it off.
“Next thing you know, we’ve all been out here for half an hour,” Raymond said.
Earlier Wednesday evening, the 1957 E St. residence hall also required a D.C. Fire response. Piringer did not return requests for comment and multiple officials on scene declined to comment.
Madeleine Morgenstern contributed to this report.