Earlier this month, a tragic school accident in a New York chemistry class left a young student with disfiguring burns to his face and torso. Investigators are still trying to get to the bottom of a terrible accident at the award-winning Beacon High School on New York’s Upper West Side. The accident occurred in the school’s chemistry class during what’s commonly known as “the Rainbow Experiment.” During the exhibition, the teacher use methanol as an accelerant to burn various chemicals producing a rainbow-like effect. Unfortunately, the experiment got out of hand and Alonzo Yanes, a sixteen-year old student (one of 30 in the classroom at the time) was severely burned. Another student’s clothing caught fire as did portions of her hair but she escaped serious injury.
A “snake-like” tornado of ethanol-fueled flame arched over the classroom and enveloped Hanes. He was rushed to the burn unit at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center in critical conditions with severe burns to his face and body.
Now officials have uncovered a federal warning video that was sent to chemistry teachers nationwide showcasing the dangers of this very experiment-leading some to believe that the teacher may have either ignored the warning or hadn’t had access to it. While the agency did not recommend that the experiment be banned, the warning did state there had been numerous incidents across the country involving serious injuries.
The United States Chemical Safety Board created the video and distributed it to over 60,000 subscribers, but a spokesperson for the agency said there was no possible way to determine just who had accessed the video.
The official standing is that a critical buildup of highly flammable ethanol fumes caused the fireball in what school officials are calling a tragic accident.
Unfortunately, school accidents in New York do happen. Many are minor but some, such as this chemistry experiment gone wrong, can have life-long or even fatal consequences. If your child has been injured in an accident at a New York school, contact a qualified attorney as soon as possible. You may have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit and recoup financial damages for any injuries your son or daughter has suffered while under the care of their teachers. Call the Law Offices of Nussin S. Fogel for a free consultation at (800) 734-9338 or (212) 385-1122 to learn your rights.