Students are evacuate after chemical release at DHSStudents were evacuated from one of the Dickinson High School science labs Friday morning during a chemistry lab experiment.
By: Stefanie Briggs, The Dickinson Press
DICKINSON - Students were evacuated from one of the Dickinson High School science labs Friday morning during a chemistry lab experiment.
Science teacher Melanie Kathrein was in the classroom with about 20 junior and senior students at the time. They were working on an experiment with the chemical bromine, DHS Principal Ron Dockter said Friday afternoon.
“I was first notified about it around 9:45 a.m.,” Dockter said. “As a matter of procedure we called the Dickinson Fire Department. We wanted their expertise to monitor the vapors.”
Kathrein was working on the chemical and through a reaction it began to release vapor, he added.
Vapor from bromine can be corrosive and toxic. The chemical can be found in fire retardants and the vapors can cause burns. No one was injured or affected by the vapor release in the science lab, Dockter said.
Three firefighters first responded to the call, and another three firefighters joined them. The department neutralized the residual vapors and students were back to their normal routines by 11:35 a.m.
“It had a strong smell,” Dockter said of the chemical release. “We were able to get students out through another portion of the building. Also the portion of the building where it happened has a separate ventilation system, so no vapors were sucked around the entire area.”
The fire department used different monitoring equipment and had fans set at strategic locations to disperse the vapor, he added.
Kathrein moved the experiment outside right away and the fire department took it from there, Dockter said.
Kathrein was not available for comment by press time.