From: ILPI Support <info**At_Symbol_Here**ILPI.COM>
Subject: Re: [DCHAS-L] Investigators call chemical fire at Merrol Hyde Magnet School an "accident"
Date: Wed, 16 May 2018 12:19:05 -0400
Reply-To: ACS Division of Chemical Health and Safety <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**PRINCETON.EDU>
Message-ID: B8EE4B14-A48F-4BFC-BE09-CE129513C343**At_Symbol_Here**

Just a quick followup to let everyone know that I spoke with Chief Bush a few moments ago and we had a very productive conversation.  He has heard from others in our community and elsewhere with respect to this long-standing issue we have been fighting for so long and appreciates the input and resources from everyone.  He is committed to ensuring that something like this never happens again and I assured him that if he needs anything from our community all he needs to do is ask.


On May 16, 2018, at 8:55 AM, ILPI Support <info**At_Symbol_Here**ILPI.COM> wrote:

I know that several of us have been pushing facts to the media that might otherwise have accepted this incorrect party line and you can see that's included in the article.  But it's not the headline which few read beyond.

Clearly, while Mr. Bush is no doubt well-schooled in fire fighting, he is out of his league on this statement.  This was no "accident".  This was a foreseeable outcome of a demonstration practice that we know is outdated and flawed.  It is as much as an "accident" as crashing your car while texting - it may not happen every time but if you keep doing it, a crash is inevitable.   Texting drivers have no intention to crash the car, but that does not excuse the behavior, such crashes are not accidental, and the drivers bear the blame for any injuries or damages.

The web page for the Hendersonville Fire Department is and has a very nice Contact Chief Bush link right on the front as well as contact phone numbers.  Perhaps I will be dropping him a polite and professional note when I get a chance. 

Rob Toreki

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On May 16, 2018, at 7:33 AM, DCHAS Membership Chair <membership**At_Symbol_Here**DCHAS.ORG> wrote:

Investigators call chemical fire at Merrol Hyde Magnet School an "accident"

HENDERSONVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) - The chemical fire at Merrol Hyde Magnet School was an accident, according to the Hendersonville Fire Department.

Fire Chief Scotty Bush released the findings from the city fire marshal, saying what caused the fire was  not the result of any criminal act.

Six days ago, a chemistry lab experiment went awry when someone mixed boric acid and alcohol. Something was used to ignite the mixture, causing a flash fire lasting 3 - 5 seconds.

The fire injured 17 students and a teacher, and forced the evacuation of the entire school.

In a news release Chief Bush declared the official cause of ignition unintentional:

As we all know, anytime we deal with chemicals in any setting, accidents occur whether at home, school, business, factory or any other setting. Our department will be meeting with [School Director] Dr. Del Phillips and his staff to review current policies and procedures.

What happened at Merrol Hyde Magnet School was not a surprise to chemical safety experts across the country. They have been warning schools about unsafe lab demonstrations for years.

There have been 32 similar incidents at school labs across the country over the last 20 years.

The American Chemical Society and the National Science Teachers Association are among several agencies telling schools that teachers need more training before they do chemical demonstrations in class, and they  should use alternatives to alcohol- based flame tests or at least use safety equipment like fume hoods to safeguard students and teachers.  

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