Lab Incident Burns Two Students
Two sophomore students at an award-winning school were injured on Thursday morning when a routine lab experiment went horribly awry. One boy had received some serious burns due to the accident.
Students and Law-Enforcement both told the news that the Chemistry teacher, Anna Poole just wanted to treat the students to a “fun” demonstration of the rainbow of flames. That happens from burning four kinds of nitrates in separate crucibles.
Instead of the easy enough experiment, there was a buildup of methyl alcohol fumes in the Upper West Side school’s third floor chemistry lab ended up igniting into a fireball that quickly sped across the counter top and then engulfed the 10th grader, Alonzo Yanes who is just 16 years old.
Alonzo yelled for help, and was only just a few feet away from the crucibles. Alonzo then dropped to the floor and tried to roll the fire out, but unfortunately that didn’t work. Thankfully a fire extinguisher and a fire blanket finally put the flames out. It was later reported that none of the students were wearing their safety goggles.
A classmate,Jeremy Reynoso who is just 15 years old, of Alonzo’s said that Alonzo’s skin was scabbed and a lot of it was melted. Jeremy stated that Alonzo was on fire for a good minute. He claimed that he could see Alonzo’s ear melting and his skin peeling. Jeremy said that Alonzo’s face was red and afterward he wasn’t talking or moving.
According to the Deputy Fire Cheif, Anthony Devita, Alonzo suffered second and third degree burns to his head as well as his neck. Another student, Julia Saltonstall who is 16 years old, thankfully suffered less severe burns. Her burns were around her neck, head, and arm. Alonzo stayed at the burn unit in the local hospital that night.
Devita stated about the lab accident:
It was just an accident on the teacher’s part. I’m assuming the experiment went wrong.
Jeremy said that the teacher “had four crucibles set on the table, and she lit them up. There were four different colors of fires: red, purple, green, and yellow.” He said that they all stopped burning and then she lit them again.
Law enforcement investigators confirmed that methanol or methyl alcohol appeared to be the cause for the experiment to go out of control.
15 year old Ahmadou Gueye told the news that, “Everybody froze, and I just ran to get the fire extinguisher. I tried to press it but the pin was in it.” He then gave it to his teacher and she used it to put the fire out.
What ultimately put the fire out was when another chemistry teacher, Michael Shum came in and threw the fire blanket on the writhing student.
Daniel A. Gibalevich
DAG Law Firm