K-12 educational school museum likely alcohol fire incidents
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Collected by C&EN, ACS Division of Chemical Health & Safety, U.S. Chemical Safety & Hazard Investigation Board, and Chemjobber
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TOTAL INJURED72
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DateFacilityCityStateTotal injuredStudentsAdultsDescriptionSource
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111/2/2011Kerr Middle SchoolDel CityOklahoma11"At some point the experiment went wrong and the chemicals being utilized caught fire in an uncontrolled manner ... the teacher was giving a demonstration of a flame color test"http://newsok.com/article/3619155, http://www.news9.com/story/15903106/burned-elementary-students
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212/1/2011Maple Grove Junior HighMaple GroveMinnesota44The first time the teacher dropped a match into a jug of methanol, Neuberger said the experiment seemed to work. ... Neuberger looked down at his paper to begin writing down his observations. 'I'm pretty sure he was starting it up to do it a second time,' Neuberger said. 'And the next thing I know I'm on fire.'"http://www.startribune.com/maple-grove-science-experiment-ends-with-face-on-fire-chaos/134841058/
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33/19/2012Reedsburg Area High SchoolReedsburgWisconsin431“It’s an experiment with salt and methanol that makes different-colored flames"http://www.wiscnews.com/news/local/article_e29d47c4-72fa-11e1-a0f9-0019bb2963f4.html
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44/12/2012Mililani High SchoolMililaniHawaii11"A teacher was conducting an experiment with methanal when a chemical flash explosion happened in the boy's face"http://www.staradvertiser.com/news/breaking/147246395.html?id=147246395
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54/26/2012Soule Road Middle SchoolLiverpoolNew York431"A veteran eighth-grade science teacher at Soule Road Middle School was teaching 22 students about the combustibility of the highly volatile chemical methanol Thursday afternoon when the experiment he was performing exploded."http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2012/04/two_agencies_investigating_sou.html
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611/28/2012Wilson Middle SchoolCarlislePennsylvania77"The science teacher ... poured rubbing alcohol into a beaker, then lit it with a flame"http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2012/12/wilson_middle_school_fire_penn.html
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76/17/2013Myth Busters Science Camp at St. Scholastica AcademyCovingtonLouisiana22"The campers were conducting an experiment in which powdered sugar is converted to carbon, using alcohol as a heating source, Badon said Monday. Something went wrong, triggering an alcohol fire, similar to a flash fire, officials said."http://www.nola.com/traffic/index.ssf/2013/06/boys_burned_during_experiment.html
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89/9/2013Roach Middle SchoolFriscoTexas321"Firefighters say a class at Roach Middle School was conducting an experiment burning salts involving strontium chloride, methyl alcohol, and a lighter when a small flash fire occurred around 3:30 p.m."http://www.wfaa.com/story/local/2014/09/16/14095500/
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910/3/2013Chapel Hill High SchoolDouglasvilleGeorgia11“One group of students, under the supervision of their teachers, was demonstrating the identifying of chemicals by the color of their flame when burning ... During this process, a flammable liquid dispensed from the container unexpectedly fast and ignited, involving a 12th grade female student and catching her on fire.”http://www.ajc.com/news/news/breaking-news/teen-set-on-fire-expected-to-fully-recover/nbGSH/, http://www.dailyreportonline.com/id=1202756384312/Lawyers-Overcome-Immunities-to-Collect-15M-for-Student-Burned-in-Chemistry-Mishap
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1011/12/2013La Joya Community High SchoolAvondaleArizona541"The flash explosion injured four students and their teacher. Only two of the students required hospitalization. ... Cunningham said it was a chemical experiment that went awry as students mixed variations of chloride - Strontium, Copper and Sodium - to produce different color flames."http://www.kpho.com/story/23949679/1-student-released-1-still-hospitalized-after-science-blast
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1111/25/2013Lincoln Park High SchoolChicagoIllinois55"On November 25, 2013, defendant Joy Walter was performing the ignition of elements in said chemistry class ... Walter was performing the demonstration and attempted to ignite cobalt in a petri dish with a match. Because the cobalt did not ignite, defendant Joy Walter poured an unmeasured amount of methanol over said cobalt and match, causing an outward explosion."http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2013/11/25/lincoln-park-high-school-student-suffers-burns-from-chem-lab-fire/, http://www.courthousenews.com/2014/04/14/67031.htm
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121/2/2014Beacon High SchoolNew YorkNew York22"Poole continued that, as she lit each Petri dish, a different color flame appeared. When the flames died out, the students asked Poole to conduct the experiment again. Poole explained that, this time, after she added the nitrates to the Petri dish, she reached for the one gallon container of methanol to add to the Petri dish and, all of a sudden, a fire ball–like a blowtorch–erupted and shot across the room. Poole did not hear anything, but saw a white flame shoot across the room, and then Student A was on fire."https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/1209619-beacon-hs-science-experiment-fire-report.html
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139/3/2014Terry Lee Wells Discovery MuseumRenoNevada13"Our investigative team determined that the incident occurred during a 'fire tornado' demonstration where salts of different elements were combusted in a dish in the presence of alcohol-soaked cotton balls, while spinning on a lazy Susan-type rotating tray. ... When the cotton failed to ignite it was realized that it had not been adequately wetted with methanol. More methanol was added to the cotton from a four-liter (one gallon) plastic bottle. Unknown to personnel, the cotton ball was likely continuing to smolder, and it ignited the freshly added methanol and flashed back to the bottle. Burning methanol then sprayed from the bottle toward the nearby audience of adults and children visiting the museum." (9 people transported to hospital--8 children, 1 adult)http://www.csb.gov/statement-of-csb-chairperson-rafael-moure-eraso-warning-against-use-of-methanol-during-laboratory-and-classroom-combustion-demonstrations-in-the-wake-of-reno-nevada-museum-fire/
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149/15/2014SMART AcademyDenverColorado44"The teacher lit a small pool of methanol to demonstrate its flame properties. When the flame didn’t rise as high as desired, he added more methanol from a 4 L container. The fire flashed back into the container, then emerged as a “jet fire” that traveled 15 ft to hit a student in the chest."http://cenblog.org/the-safety-zone/2014/09/denver-student-hit-in-chest-with-jet-of-flaming-methanol/
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1510/20/2014Cub Scout eventRaymondIllinois431"the Scouts were outside a multi-purpose building owned by the Community of Faith Presbyterian Church attempting to mix boric acid and Heet antifreeze in a metal fire pit to produce a green flame when the substance exploded about 7:20 p.m."http://www.sj-r.com/article/20141021/NEWS/141029903
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1610/31/2014UIC College PrepChicagoIllinois33"The lawsuit alleges that Donati was attempting to mix boric acid and methanol inside a pumpkin to demonstrate the effects of the combined chemicals. At some point, there was an explosion"http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-exploding-pumpkin-lawsuit-met-20151029-story.html
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175/22/2015Lincoln High SchoolTallahasseeFlorida33"A flame test being demonstrated by an experienced teacher during an AP chemistry class resulted in the accident. ... A flammable solvent – in Friday's accident it was alcohol – is used to ignite the flame. But it also creates the conditions for a flash fire."http://www.tallahassee.com/story/news/local/2015/05/22/hsstudentsinjuredinlabexperiment/27784223/
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1810/30/2015W.T. Woodson High SchoolFairfaxVirginia651"[The teacher] was demonstrating the experiment … with the different elements causing the fire to change color, and as the fire was dying down she added more alcohol"http://cenblog.org/the-safety-zone/2015/11/fire-from-rainbow-demo-injures-five-students-in-virginia/
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