“Help me!” are two words a high school chemistry teacher never wants to hear a pupil scream during chemistry lab, but those were the desperate pleas of a 16-year-old boy at Beacon School in Manhattan on Thursday.
The high school student was a mere bystander, watching his chemistry teacher attempt to demonstrate a rainbow of flames that occur when one burns four different kinds of nitrates in separate crucibles. However, methanol fumes caused a fireball that left the teen with 2nd and 3rd degree burns to his face, head and neck. Another student, a 16-year-old girl, also suffered burn injuries.
To make matters worse, it took far too long for the flames to be snuffed out.
“He was on fire for a good minute,” said a 15-year-old peer. “I saw his ear was melting. The skin was peeling. His face was red. Afterward, he wasn’t talking or moving.”
This high school accident leaves little doubt that the teacher was at fault, as she was in exclusive control of the experiment. Media reports indicate that students weren’t wearing safety goggles at the time of the explosion.
Parents of the injured students have 90 days to file a notice of claim against New York City. Should that deadline pass, the students will forfeit their right to file a lawsuit against NYC Schools. An experienced New York municipal liability injury attorney can help.
Source: New York Post, “Two High School Kids Burned In Lab Accident,” Lorena Mongelli, Jan. 2, 2014