Four students at a Denver high school were injured today, one seriously, when a classroom chemistry demonstration caught fire, according to the Associated Press. The students suffered burns on their faces and upper bodies, and were brought to Denver hospitals for treatment.
The fire started at 7:54 a.m. MT at charter school SMART Academy's Lalo Delgado campus, a Denver Fire Department spokesman told the Denver Post. The fire burned itself out and did not spread to other classrooms nearby, the newspaper reported.
"We're all obviously very concerned for their safety and their recovery," Chris Gibbons, chief executive officer of Strive Preparatory Schools, which operates SMART Academy and eight other charter schools in Denver, told AP.
David Mathis, a 10th-grader who was in the classroom at the time of the fire, said their teacher was lighting methanol when it caught fire and shot up toward the ceiling, Denver's local news channel 7News reported.
"I only saw one of the students, but his skin was peeling off, and it looked like at least second-degree burns all over," Mathis told 7News. "We were all just chaotic. We were trying to figure out what just happened. We just saw fire everywhere in the room, too, and we were just trying to put it out and help the students."
It's not the first science experiment to go awry this month. On Sept. 3, during a tabletop tornado demonstration, a flash fire in a science museum in Nevada injured 13 people.