Science project at day care injures 12 children, firefighters say

By Aaron Barker - Senior Digital Editor

HOUSTON - Twelve children at a west Houston day care were injured Tuesday when a science project went wrong, firefighters said.

The incident was reported about 11:45 a.m. at The Yellow School of Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church near the intersection of Blalock Road and Blalock Lane in the Memorial area.

"My wife and my son are in the ambulance; my son did get some burns," said Randy Kenney whose 3-year-old child was injured during the experiment. "I think, I know he has some burns, and they want to test and see if he inhaled any chemicals. It's just scary, you know? We were just coming here to have an end-of-the-year picnic and there was a lot of fire trucks."

Many families like Kenney's were headed to the school for the picnic when they saw the first respondents.

Officials from The Village Fire Department said the children in pre-kindergarten classes were involved in a science project outside the day care when something went wrong and there was a flash fire.

Chief David Foster, with The Village Fire Department, said the teacher was demonstrating how to make flames change colors using different chemicals. He said the teacher mixed boric acid with methanol and tried to light it, but nothing happened. That's when the teacher added more alcohol, lit the mixture and the chemical flash happened.

The fire department said 12 children, who were between 2 and 3 years old, suffered burns. They said six of them were taken to a hospital for treatment, and the other six were taken to doctors by their parents. The extent of their injuries was not immediately released.

A teacher was also injured, suffering scrapes and bruises trying to protect one of the students.

Video from Sky 2 showed several emergency vehicles at the school. Adults could be seen carrying several children away from the school.

There was no damage to the school building.

The Texas Department of Family and Protective Services said it's investigating what happened. It said child care licensing is investigating.

DFPS said the school has had a permit since Sept. 1, 1992, to take care of 85 toddler to school age children.

The state inspected The Yellow School of Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church in November. The school had three deficiencies related to record keeping and training but have been corrected, according to DFPS.

Here is the statement from the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services:

"Child Care Licensing is currently investigating the incident at The Yellow School this afternoon. We will interview staff and children and their parents, and make sure the area will be safe for children to return.

"The school was issued a permit on 9/1/1992 to care for 85 toddler-school age children.  Their last monitoring inspection was conducted in November 2016 and three deficiencies related to record keeping and training were cited, all of which have been corrected."

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