Chemistry Lab Fire Injured Five Students and One Teacher

According to a recent news article from WUSA 9, a fire in a high school chemistry class injured five students and one teacher. Authorities say the science teacher was doing a demonstration for the class, which involved adding different elements to an open flame, so that you see it change color. This is known as the rainbow demonstration.

choollab.jpgWhile the demonstration was going well at first, at some point the teacher introduced alcohol to a heat source, and it unexpectedly ignited in what students are calling a flash fire. While the fire itself was fairly small, and the building’s sprinkler system was activated, thus extinguishing the fire, the sudden flash caused five students and the teacher to suffer burn injuries. Once the building sprinkler system activated, the building was evacuated, and all students and staff reported to the school’s football stadium.

Firefighters and EMTs responded to the alarm and quickly arrived at the school. All five victims were offered immediate medical attention, but two of the victims were in much more serious condition than the other students. As a result, paramedics called medevac helicopters to the scene. Those two students were airlifted to a local level-one trauma center for surgery and burn treatment. One of the students is listed as being in stable condition, but the other is still listed as being in critical condition due to the extent of her burns.

A spokesperson for the hospital released information that student had suffered 20 percent burn damage on her left arm, chest, back, and her face. Her mother said her daughter’s arm suffered by far the worst burn injury. However, doctors believe that after two surgeries, her face will completely recover from the burn damage without scarring or other disfigurement.

The rainbow flame test is fairly common chemistry class experiment. One student at the school said another teacher had done the same thing for her class the previous year. That student’s mother was a chemist and knew the risks such a chemical fire can cause, so she rushed to the school as soon as she heard the news.

Another student in the class reported that they were told to always wear their safety aprons when dealing with chemicals, and students with long hair should tie their hair up. However, they were not told how to eyewash or provided with any other safety training.

A spokesperson for the county school board said she does not know if the teacher was following the appropriate safety protocols when conducting the experiment but said it is too early to speculate, and she would not attempt to do so. Many students are offering their support for the teacher, who is well liked on the campus.

It should be noted that teacher has not been found to be or accused of being liable or any way responsible for this tragic accident.

As your Charlotte personal injury attorney will discuss, burn injures can require a lot of treatment, and that treatment can cost a lot of money.

Contact our Carolina personal injury lawyers at Lee Law Offices today by calling 800-887-1965.

Additional Resources:
Student injured in Woodson HS fire needs surgery, ‘will recover’, October 15, 2015, News Staff
More Blog Entries:
Anderson v. Mandalay – Hotel Liability for Guest Rape by Employee, Oct. 24, 2015, Greenville Personal Injury Lawyer Blog

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