Science explosion sparks emergency

A TEENAGE boy has sustained burns to his upper body and a teacher was treated for minor burns after a science experiment went wrong, sparking an explosion at a local school.

The 14-year-old and his fellow Year 8 students were believed to be conducting an experiment involving methylated spirits when the incident occurred about 10am yesterday.

Two ambulance crews were called to the scene at Tamworth High School 

 where they found the boy with burns to the side of the face, shoulder and back, an Ambulance NSW spokesman said.

He was taken to Tamworth hospital with “significant injuries” 

and remains in a stable condition, a hospital spokesman said.

Late yesterday afternoon, the spokesman said it was likely he would be transferred to a Sydney hospital for further care.

A second patient reportedly received minor burns to their hands, but was not hospitalised.

It is believed the students were undertaking an experiment to remove the pigment of a leaf, which involves placing the leaf in methylated spirits and then heating it in a water bath.

After the incident, students were evacuated from the classroom as a precaution.

Three fire crews, including a hazardous materials unit, attended the scene and surveyed the classroom before declaring it safe a short time later, station officer Robert Luck said.

The teacher and support staff present were praised for their quick response in treating the student before emergency services arrived.

“The circumstances of the incident will be investigated and the school will adopt recommendations which will further improve their safety procedures,” a spokesman from the Department of Education and Communities said. Students and staff have been offered ongoing counselling.

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