3 students, 1 teacher sent to hospital after ‘incident’ in chemistry class
Another student was treated and released on the scene at Dinwiddie High School
DINWIDDIE, Va. (WWBT) - Three students and a teacher were transported to VCU Medical Center on Wednesday morning after an “incident” inside a chemistry classroom on the second floor at Dinwiddie High School that led to a fire.
According to county officials, the Dinwiddie County Emergency Communications Center received the report of a possible fire at 9:23 a.m. The first report was via radio from a school resource officer.
Dinwiddie Schools said the fire alarm was pulled and students were evacuated as emergency crews rushed to the scene.
Alonna Perkins, a student at Dinwiddie High School, was in a nearby classroom on the second floor when she heard a loud noise.
“It sounded like somebody was coming through the wall, like a really large fight,” she said. “The fire alarm went off and that’s when we knew something had happened with fire.”
On the scene, officials said three students suffered burn injuries and were transported by EMS personnel to VCU Medical Center in Richmond. One student was transported by air medical helicopter and the other two were taken by ambulance, according to county officials.
When crews were working on this incident, a fourth student was later found with a minor burn injury. This student was treated and released at the scene. A teacher was also taken to a local hospital for a burn injury.
The conditions of the students and teacher have not been released.
Fraternal twins Emily and Kiley Dougherty were inside a classroom on the second floor when the fire broke out.
“When I went to go get my stuff from my mom picking me up, I could smell the chemicals and it traveled through the vents,” said Emily Dougherty.
At first, Emily said many thought this was a drill, but the situation quickly became reality when they saw the fire trucks and medical helicopter arrive.
“It’s scary and I said I hope to God they’re okay,” said Emily.
Students were dismissed from school early at 11:15 a.m. Moments before the early release time, buses and cars filled with anxious parents lined the street in front of the school to pick up their students.
Across the street at Dinwiddie Middle School, Amanda Davis was waiting to pick up her daughter, who was taking a PSAT test when the fire broke out.
“I lost it. I was very scared,” Davis told NBC12. “You know, I didn’t know whether it was spreading, whether all of the kids were out, if all the kids were safe, my daughter especially of course, but all the kids should always be safe when they’re in school.”
Dinwiddie Schools said the exact chain of events leading up to the fire remains under investigation as part of a joint effort between the Dinwiddie County Sheriff’s Department, Dinwiddie Fire and EMS, and the state fire marshal’s office.
This situation has left Alonna Perkins feeling sad.
“It could’ve been me or anybody,” she said. “It’s really sad that it happened at a school where you think you’re supposed to be safe at.”
Students from Dinwiddie High School will have an asynchronous learning day on Thursday. Students will be back on Friday where a support team will be available for students and staff.
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