From: ILPI Support <info**At_Symbol_Here**ILPI.COM>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] USA TODAY: Science experiment injures 18 at Tennessee school
Date: Fri, 11 May 2018 09:36:45 -0400
Reply-To: ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**PRINCETON.EDU>
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Long video there. I commend the reporters for asking brilliant - absolutely BRILLIANT questions, and I hope the Officials will follow up on their promises to release more information, but for right now all I here is the same 'ole arguments of it's chemistry and accidents just happen.  I will let the list comment on these statements, several of which are dumbfounding (actually, dumbass on some of them).  I know this long but READ ALL THIS because this is the battle we fight every day:

Opening statement includes "it was an unintentional chemical reaction that occurred."

Reporter asks the school official "What exactly happened and how can it be prevented?" at 2:43.  Police or fire rep answers "Anytime that you have a chemistry lab you have numerous chemicals it's across  the country in these labs (shrug) in each school that you go to. Anything can happen with those if it's completely unintentional uh, timing was just right, some things happened, uh, again there was no malice with this, there was no intent from anybody to injure anybody, it was just an unintentional chemical reaction that caused a temporary flash fire which is basically a fire that lasts about three to five seconds and extinguished itself with the extinguisher uh and then you have the residue from the chemical and the extinguisher in the room and that was our concern there."

So reporter follows up with "So what chemical were they working with and what were they doing?"  Answer: "We're not completely sure which ones they were working with right now we're - that's still an ongoing investigation-[working on it may release some of it tomorrow]"

Reporter then asks "How did a flash fire injure that many people?" The official then basically ignores that and answers a simultaneous question with a comment about dry chemical extinguisher residue.

So then the reporter asks "So how did it injure twelve people? Was it in the air?"  Official answers "Well, again it was a chemistry lab and if you've ever been in a chemistry lab, I know I was in one many years ago, uh, you're gathered around as the teacher or instructor is showing different things and/or the students are involved in that as well."

Reporter then asks "So was this the teacher doing a demonstration" to which the answer is "I'm not going to get into that... [still investigating/interviewing]- you gotta understand that people's health is what's important here."

And then someone asks "What preventative measures are being taken?" (5:05) and someone apparently cross-talks the same question.  The response "Ma'am I don't know that you can ever prevent things from happening 100%, um accidents occur, that's why they're called accidents, whether it's chemical-related or it's vehicle, accidents are accidents. Now obviously there are other reasons that contribute to some of those sometimes but this is not one of the cases. Uh, it's an accident' we're still reviewing-"

Around 6:00 a reporter asks a very long question that includes "-but what would your investigation specifically look like, to make sure that everything was done right and that something like this is not likely to happen again, not to say that again this was likely to happen in the first place but just to make sure it was not likely."  School official takes over and says that if the fire officials make any recommendations that they think are applicable they  will try to make that happen.

Second degree burns "partial thickness".  Nobody had third degree burns.

Fire official at 7:30: "These chemicals are the same chemicals that you have at your house. If you mix them incorrectly it could happen at your house. So it can happen to any of us."  He then dismisses malice/intent, and the reporters say nobody has been saying that and asks the question "But again, the teacher is tasked with making sure that everything goes right-" the fire official talks over the question and says "and the teacher did a fantastic job".  Reporter continues "will the teacher be investigated at all or asked-."  School official jumps in; there's a lot here but key points out of it is the "experiment" was the second one of the day, the first one in another period went fine.  This was a mistake "that's something I'm sure will be easily easily rectified for that particular teacher so I think the teacher did exactly what they're supposed to do, these things just unfortunately sometimes happen."

10:50 School official says "I think this is the teacher's first year."

Reporter follows up with "There are science labs around the while entire country and we haven't really covered this kind of thing happening in a while and it happens today and you said it was a mistake, you said it was an accident, so which one happened today, how much are you really going to look at the teacher?"  The school official defers to the fire official who says "It's an unintentional accident. It's still under investigation. Uh, it was not a mistake - uh that's a play on words as far as a mistake.  Again, this teacher, again any time you are dealing with chemicals anything can happen with them. If the mixture's not right, uh if the air content's too strong too weak. Obviously, when you have a flash fire the oxygen content is not enough to continue the burning process. So that's the whole thing that happened here. It's just a momentary something got together, the conditions were just right, you had that spontaneous fire, kids were grouped around the teacher as this process was going on, they probably done it in this classroom hundreds of times before-"

School official jumps in and says he wants to clarify that it's an accident, that's what happened.

Rob Toreki


Tags: us_TN, laboratory, follow-up, environmental, unknown_chemical

All eight Merrol Hyde students and the teacher injured in Wednesday's science experiment gone wrong have been released from the hospital, the science lab has been cleaned and cleared for use, and school is back in session.

Sumner County Schools spokesmen Jeremy Johnson said Thursday morning that the maintenance department completely cleaned the classroom Wednesday night, and it was back in working order.

Merrol Hyde Principal Darren Frank had previously made arrangements for classes to be routed around that classroom, so it will not be in use today; however, it is ready to be used, and classes are expected to be held there tomorrow, Johnson said.

While officials are still not saying what chemicals caused the explosion, Johnson did say the room "did not require anything but a regular cleaning."

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