Students injured in chemistry classroom explosion at Saint Martin’s have been treated and released from hospital

September 21, 2005
5:00 pm

Lacey, Wash. – All students injured in an explosion during a chemistry demonstration in a Saint Martin’s University classroom today have been released from the hospital. 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. Four other 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 chards throughout the classroom. About 34 students are enrolled in the class.

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 laboratory assistant.

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.

Deanna Partlow
Media relations coordinator
360-438-4541; dpartlow@stmartin.edu