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Beacon HS Hit with 8 Violations After Chemistry Explosion, FDNY Says

By Emily Frost | January 9, 2014 11:32am
 The school was cited for not storing chemicals properly and not having plans for its labs. 
Beacon School Chemistry Explosion
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LINCOLN SQUARE — A week after two students at Beacon High School were burned during a chemistry experiment gone awry, FDNY officials slapped the school with eight violations.

During inspections at the school on Jan. 3 and Jan. 6, the Fire Department found the lab used in the experiment was not properly storing chemicals and that the school did not have a proper plan for using its science labs.

The Jan. 2 incident occurred when a tenth-grade chemistry teacher's demonstration exploded at the West 61st Street school, leaving a 15-year-old boy with second-degree burns and a 15-year-old girl with first-degree burns.

The teacher, Anna Poole, was igniting various chemicals in crucibles to demonstrate how different materials produce flames with different colors, students said.

The school now has 10 days to address certain violations, like the proper storage of chemicals in the approved volumes, the FDNY said. It will have 30 days to comply with other violations, like installing an approved hood that will ventilate the lab when smoky experiments are conducted, officials said.

The FDNY will also require the school to properly store the chemicals in a metal cabinet.

"We're asking them to meet the code in their storage, use and handling of chemicals," said FDNY spokesman James Long of the violations, which were addressed to the school's principal. "We asked them to have plans... for the rooms that would identify what the room is used for, what is in the room."

Students described the experiment as an attempt by Poole to teach them about different chemicals in a "fun" way, by creating a rainbow of colors through igniting them. One of the experiments caused a blast that burned the two students standing closest to the experiment.

"We are working closely with FDNY to correct the violations," DOE spokesman Devon Puglia said.