4 students burned in science experiment at Maple Grove Junior High

10:33 AM, Dec 2, 2011   |    comments
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Dane Neuberger, one of the Maple Grove students burned (Photo from HCMC)

MAPLE GROVE, Minn. - A 15-year-old Maple Grove student whose face was burned when a classroom science experiment exploded is recovering at a Minneapolis hospital Friday morning.

Three other students at Maple Grove Junior High School who suffered minor injuries in Thursday's accident were treated at the hospital and released.

Fifteen-year-old Dane Neuberger says the classroom erupted in chaos after the flash fire during science class. Neuberger suffered second-degree burns to his face, neck and right hand.

He says the fire ignited the hair of other students and burned papers around the classroom.

Neuberger tells the Star Tribune at first he was in shock, but as he waited for the ambulance unbearable pain took over and it felt like he didn't have lips.

School officials say the explosion occurred when the teacher was working with flammable gas and a match.

Principal Laurel Anderson says the incident occurred about 9:45 a.m. in a 9th grade science class of about 30 students. The four were burned in an accident involving a flammable gas and nearby papers that apparently caught on fire.

Late Thursday afternoon, two 9th grade students who were not in the classroom but said they heard what happened from friends inside the room, told KARE 11 the teacher was performing an experiment that involved igniting methane gas.

The school district will not confirm that report.

The victims suffered burns ranging from mild to severe, but none of the injuries are considered life-threatening.

All of the burned students were rushed to HCMC for treatment.

District spokesperson Barb Olson says the fire was put out with a fire blanket and extinguisher before police and firefighters arrived, but would not provide details. No damage to the classroom was reported.

The rest of the students in the science class were not injured, but medical professionals and counseling staff are on site to provide support to those who witnessed the incident.

An investigation is underway by both the State Fire Marshal and the school district to determine what caused it.

(Copyright 2011 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. )

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