Explosion at a Queen Creek middle school injures 8Posted: Updated:
QUEEN CREEK - One student is under arrest after an explosion at a Valley school that injured several students.
Hazmat crews converged on J.O. Combs Middle School in Queen Creek on Monday after a student allegedly set off a home-made explosive device on campus.
It happened as students were headed to class.
A total of eight students were treated by paramedics at the school. Three of them were then sent to area hospitals with chemical-type burns after police tell 3TV a 15-year old ninth-grader brought an improvised explosive device to school and set it off.
Almost 100 students were around him.
The injured students were treated and released with all of the injuries being classified as minor.
Ashley, a student, tells 3TV, "It was a big boomsomething went off."
That big boom happened at the basketball courts at Combs Middle School as students were arriving for class.
Pinal County Chief Deputy Steve Henry tells 3TV, "When the device exploded first impression by school staff was, they thought it was a chemical experiment gone awry."
When they found out a 15-year-old student brought the device to school and that students had been burned by it, a criminal investigation began.
It was first reported that a student had taken a 2-liter bottle of chlorine to school and when he added tin foil to the liquid, there was an explosion. During the investigation, the substance was found to be drain cleaner.
Hazmat crews from the region descended on the school as students remained in lockdown.
Elizabeth Burnell, a student, says, "They said it was on basketball court, then our security guard came in and searched the trash cans to make sure we were all okay."
As crews entered the school to determine whether there was more than one device, parents were waiting anxiously a mile down the road where students were eventually transported to be picked up.
The parents' concern was that the incident happened before school began yet they were not alerted until many hours later. One parent admits, "I'm ready to send her to a new school."
Authorities served a search warrant on the student's home to see if a second device was created. These are serious felony charges that student, albeit a minor, is looking at.
Meanwhile the school has been decontaminated. There will be school on Tuesday.
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