UPDATE: Chemistry explosion injures Saint Martin’s University students
September 21, 2005
Lacey, Wash. – An explosion during a chemistry
demonstration in a Saint Martin’s University classroom today injured
nine students. Four of the injured were transported by ambulance to
Olympia’s Providence St. Peter Hospital and a fifth student traveled to
Madigan Army Medical Center with her father for treatment. All suffered
lacerations when a large glass bottle, approximately 18 inches by 24
inches, exploded. None of the injuries are life-threatening, according
to Olympia Fire Dept. Captain Kate McDonald. One student remains in
surgery; the others were treated and released. The remaining students
were taken to the hospital by university staff members or friends for
evaluation. Parents of all injured students have been notified.
The university has cancelled classes on its main
campus in Lacey for the remainder of the day. They will resume tomorrow
morning. Classes at the University’s Fort Lewis and McChord extension
campuses will be held as scheduled tonight.
The accident, which occurred during an organic
chemistry class on the Old Main building’s first floor, resulted when
members of the university’s Chemistry Club were presenting a
demonstration of a combustion reaction. The bottle, which contained a
small amount of ethanol, exploded when lit, shattering the bottle and
sending shards throughout the classroom.
Lacey Police Department and Lacey Fire Department 3,
with Olympia Fire Department giving back-up, responded to the event.
About 34 students were in the class, along with the professor and a
University counselors met with members of the class
after the incident and will meet with them again tomorrow. Staff members
and counselors also accompanied students to the hospital and will be at
residence halls tonight. The university also will have a meeting for the
university community tomorrow to answer questions.
Please see the university’s website,
www.stmartin.edu, for updates. We
will be adding more information as it is available. Families of Saint
Martin’s students are asked to call (360) 438-4403.
Media relations coordinator