4 Students Burned At Maple Grove Junior High
December 1, 2011 5:48 PM
MAPLE GROVE, Minn. (WCCO) =E2=80=94 Four students were transported to the Hennepin County Medical Center for burns after a methanol experiment blew up at Maple Grove Junior High.
All the students, ninth graders, are currently in satisfactory condition. The experiment was being conducted by their ninth grade science teacher, Mr. Matt Achor.
Authorities say Achor was performing an experiment with a flammable liquid when the accident happened. It is not clear if the students suffered chemical burns or were burned by fire.
Fifteen-year-old Dane Neuberger got the worst of it and was still being treated at HCMC Thursday afternoon.
"My face was actually on fire," said Neuberger.
Neuberger had a front seat to the demonstration when he said his teacher lit a match. Three other students surrounded him.
"He just took a jug of menthol and dropped a match in there. That's like the last I know," he said.
He said his face, neck and hand were all burned by fire. His teacher stopped it from spreading by using a fire blanket.
"I started screaming and he was on me fast to put the fire out and my shirt and face were on fire," Neuberger said.
Some papers also started on fire, but Neuberger says they were put out with an extinguisher.
"We have crisis plans in place. We implement plans as it happens. We're doing everything we can to bring the school back to normal," said Barbara Olson, spokesperson of Osseo Area Schools.
The experiment was supposed to be a reward for the class for doing so well.
"When we got here he looked much, much worse, and you're just beside yourself," said Gus Neuberger, Dane's dad.
He said he hopes the school learns a lesson.
"Some actual policy changes with some safety in the classroom with these experiments," he said.
According to school officials, police and fire units were dispatched to the school to attempt to vent the room where the experiment took place.
Only the classroom where the incident occurred was evacuated. Authorities say neither the sprinklers or the fire alarms went off inside the classroom. The fire was put out with a blanket and fire extinguisher that is kept in the classroom.
No other classrooms were affected and school continued as planned. The other students who were in the classroom but were not harmed were sent home for the day, according to school officials.
Neuberger said his teacher did apologize as he waited for an ambulance.
The fire chief is investigating, but classes will go on as normal.
The school is located at 7000 Hemlock Lane in Maple Grove. Crisis managers were available at the school for students.
Dear Dr. Mowery:
I'm unable to find specific recommendations against using a fire blanket in this manner, but I know I've heard others mention these dangers. My understanding of proper fire blanket use is 1) To cover a fire in the immediate area before it spreads (if possible) or 2) to wrap up a non-burningperson who must evacuate through a danger area (danger of burns).
You may want to contact a manufacturer of fire blankets with this question. If the dangers you mention are real, they would know better than anyone to avoid liability of their product.
Edward J. McGrath
Red Clay Consolidated School District
1502 Spruce Avenue
Wilmington, DE 19805
"Fortune favors the prepared mind." Louis Pasteur
From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:dchas-l**At_Symbol_Here**MED.CORNELL.EDU] On Behalf Of Barbara Mowery
Sent: Friday, December 02, 2011 12:46 PM
Subject: [DCHAS-L] Use of a fire blanket
I have received the following question from a colleague-your input would be much appreciated.
"Hi, I have been receiving emails regarding the dangers associated with using fire blankets and I'm concluding that we should probably not use them to wrap up someone who might be on fire in one of our labs....
Fire blankets are valuable in labs for a variety of purposes. One of those does not happen to be wrapping yourself in them to extinguish your clothing fire. In addition to trapping the heat, the fire blanket creates a chimney effect and directs the hot, toxic gases, and flames into your face, breathing zone and lungs.
Whether you go to the shower or not depends on your distance. For anything more than 2-3 steps, please stop, drop, and roll. Someone else can get the blanket and use it to help smother the flames. Then, cool off in the shower.
Blankets can also be used for (1) shower modesty curtains, (2) wraps for after the shower, (3) a temporary stretcher, (4)to keep someone warm to avoid shock, (5) a pillow if the victim needs to be on the floor, and (6) to smother other fires."
General Chemistry Laboratory Coordinator
Physical Sciences Department
York College of Pennsylvania
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113 Campbell Hall 717-815-6480 Fax 717-849-1653
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