School Chemistry Fire Victim Will Have Surgery; Other Airlifted Victim Released From Hospital - NBC4 Washington

School Chemistry Fire Victim Will Have Surgery; Other Airlifted Victim Released From Hospital



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    One of the students seriously burned in a chemistry class fire in Fairfax County, Virginia, will be heading into surgery next week.

    Sonya Garvis was airlifted to a D.C. hospital after Friday morning's fire, which occurred at W.T. Woodson High School as a teacher performed an experiment demonstrating the different colors of flames.

    Garvis' family told News4's Derrick Ward that she is doing well, but has serious burns on her arm. Four other students -- including another who was airlifted -- and their teacher were also hurt.

    The three students with less serious injuries were treated and released.

    One of the students who had been airlifted has now been released from Medstar Washington Hospital Center, a hospital spokesperson said Monday morning. However, it wasn't immediately clear whether it was Garvis or the other student who'd been seriously injured. NBC Washington is awaiting further information.

    The teacher who was conducting the experiment was treated at the school and was not taken to a hospital. The investigation into the explosion and fire is continuing.

    The exact nature of the experiment performed at Woodson wasn't known immediately.

    An exercise often known as "the rainbow experiment" has previously left students with serious injuries and should not be performed in classrooms, according to the U.S. Chemical Safety Board and the American Chemical Society.

    "These demonstrations present an unacceptable risk of flash fires and deflagrations that can cause serious injuries to students and teachers," the ACS said.

    In New York City, a botched rainbow experiment left a 16-year-old high school student with serious injuries in January 2014. In Hudson, Ohio, a 15-year-old prep school student and model received devastating burns from the experiment in January 2006.

    The rainbow experiment shows how various mineral salts produce flames in different colors when mixed with highly flammable methanol.

    Woodson student Daniel Dorlester said he was in the classroom of 30 sophomores Friday morning when the blast erupted about 9:40 a.m.

    "It was kind of a fireball, but it wasn't like a 'whoosh' thing that went up, it went out," he said. "[The teacher] decided to add more alcohol straight from the bottle, and at that point, it blew up and everyone started evacuating."