Fire in Va. High School’s Chemistry Class Injures 6

The fire is believed to be the result of a failed chemistry experiment.

Five students and a teacher were injured Oct. 30 when a classroom chemistry experiment produced a massive flame that lit several people on fire in Virginia.

The fire, which occurred in a classroom at W.T. Woodson High School in Fairfax County, sent five students to the hospital, including two with serious burns.

The incident occurred around 9:40 a.m. as a chemistry teacher was demonstrating the effects of different chemicals on a flame, according to the Washington Post. The teacher was burning a flammable liquid on the surface of a desk when she added more of the liquid, producing a “splash of fire” that lit several people, including the teacher, on fire as they fled the classroom.

Students described the chaotic scene as the 31-student class flooded into the hallways while screams and smoke filled the school. At least one student had surgery and one student is still listed in critical condition as a result of the blaze. The teacher also suffered minor burns before a school resource officer was able to pat her flaming clothes out.

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School was evacuated when the fire alarm went off and helicopters arrived on the scene to airlift students to the hospital. Firefighters spent the day ventilating the building as students gathered on the nearby football field.

The fire was still burning when firefighters arrived and authorities estimate about half of the classroom was burned, although the flames didn’t spread to other parts of the school.

Fairfax County Public Schools is conducting an independent investigation and authorities have also begun questioning witnesses. The school is expected to reopen on Oct. 4.

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