Liverpool (WSYR-TV) -- A science class demonstration turned dangerous at a Liverpool middle school Thursday. Three students and a teacher ended up in the hospital with burns. Two of the students are still being treated.
“The first thing that we saw was…there were kids laying in the hallway and that is a pretty horrible sight,” said Liverpool Superintendent, Dr. Richard Johns.
By the time Johns was called to Soule Road Middle School, fire trucks and ambulances surrounded the main door. Inside an eighth grade science room, three students and a teacher were being treated for serious burns.
"The teacher told me that he'd performed this experiment dozens of times in his career and never had a problem with it, but something went wrong, horribly wrong this time,” Dr. Johns told NewsChannel 9.
The teacher was holding a jar of methanol when fumes ignited; it created a flash fire, burning the students nearby.
Rescuers found one young girl burned from the waist up. Another child's eyebrows and lashes were singed by the heat, even though she was wearing goggles.
"Her collar had obviously started on fire and it had burned her nape and the back of her back pretty significantly,” Dr. Johns continued.
An email went out to parents as the school was temporarily evacuated. Hours later, Dr. Johns said it was still too early to know exactly what happened. Thursday night, his thoughts were with a young teacher, devastated by the idea of hurting his students.
"All I could say is about how badly he felt that this whole thing happened. He felt very responsible, and I told him we'll get into that tomorrow, and tonight he should just concentrate on feeling better and getting home,” Dr. Johns said.
Of the four people brought to the hospital, Dr. Johns says one of the students has been released. He believes the teacher will be as well. However, two other students may need to remain overnight, and perhaps even longer.
Students, teacher burned in lab fire at Soule Road Middle School
April 26, 2012
Clay (WSYR-TV) – Three students and a teacher suffered burns in a science lab fire at Soule Road Middle School in Clay on Thursday afternoon.
All four were transported from the scene at the school in the Liverpool Central School District. Two students suffered burns on their faces. No word has been released on the third student's condition or that of the teacher.
Four ambulances, fire personnel and Onondaga County sheriff's deputies responded to the scene.
The incident occurred in a classroom on the east side of the school. Superintendent Richard Johns said the teacher was providing a demonstration when chemicals ignited.
"It was apparently methanol gas vapors that apparently ignited. We're not sure at this point what caused the ignition, but there was a rather explosive reaction,” the administrator said.
The teacher and the students sitting closest to him were injured.
Some papers and books were ignited, but the fire was quickly put out. The classroom did not sustain any damage.
The middle school and nearby elementary school were both evacuated at the time of the incident.
Fire personnel allowed staff and students to return to the schools about an hour after the incident.
Word has not been released regarding the patients' conditions.