KATY, Texas – Several Mayde Creek Junior High students were sent to area hospitals Friday after a cellphone battery began to smoke, according to Katy Independent School District spokeswoman Maria DiPetta.
The incident was reported around 11:55 a.m., according to Cy-Creek EMS.
According to the Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office, investigators determined several students were playing with an old cellphone by taking it apart. Investigators said one of the students was playing with the battery, causing it to overheat, bulge and smoke.
Police said the cafeteria was evacuated but the campus did not.
“There was smoke everywhere. People were jumping on tables, yelling, laughing screaming,” said 7th-grader Skakira Alamsyah, who sent KPRC 2 cellphone video that showed faculty pouring water over the device as it was smoking.
Officials at West Lake Fire Department said several other students were taken to another area hospital. All were treated for smoke inhalation. Officials said the students’ injuries were non-life threatening. Investigators first reported that a student suffered thermal burns but later said no students sustained burns.
“There were some students that were distressed because of the situation. Those students were taken to our nurse’s office and those that suffered from smoke inhalation were transported by our EMS units,” Dipetta said.
As of 4 p.m. Friday, seven of the 10 students transported to Texas Children’s Hospital in Katy have all been discharged.
Fort Bend County EMS and fire marshals were also at the scene.
Police said they do not believe the banging of the phone was intentional.
“From the video, I don’t think he intended to do it. You can see him patting the phone. I don’t think he intended for it to catch fire,” Jinks said.
Jinks said that student is not facing disciplinary action.
Officials with the West Lake Fire Department said the smoke was caused by battery failure.
District officials said earlier reports about the battery exploding turned out to be incorrect. However, a report from the Harris County Fire Marshal’s Office said there was a release of “heat, smoke and sparks.”
Police said a school dance was scheduled for 1 p.m. but was canceled after the incident happened.