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Twelve sent to hospital following school explosion

Firefighters respond to Friday morning incident in David Douglas High School science wing
by: CITY OF PORTLAND Portland firefighters responded to a chemical explosion at David Douglas High School on Friday morning.

Twelve people were taken to area hospitals following a small explosion in a science classroom of David Douglas High School in Southeast Portland Friday morning.

The names of the victims and their conditions were not immediately available.

According to Portland Fire and Rescue, the explosion occurred at 10:14 a.m. when a teacher was working with a sodium-based metal in a sink and someone turned on water. The explosion was followed by the release of gas, which filled the classroom.

Specially trained Firefighter/HazMat Technicians from Portland Fire Station 7 arrived first. After learning what happened, they called for a Level II HazMat response, bringing additional resources and expertise to the scene.

Twenty-five students and one teacher were in the classroom at the time of the explosion. One adult and 11 students were assessed and treated by Portland firefighter/paramedics and school nurses. Most were complaining of upper respiratory distress. The students were then transported to area hospitals with non-life threatening injuries.

Both the classroom where the explosion occurred and clothing worn by the 11 students who were transported to hospitals tested positive for high concentrations of ph. Firefighters used the school's showers to decontaminate affected students and outfit them with Tyvek suits prior to transport.

According to Portland Fire and Rescue Deputy Chief Duane Bray, "This emergency evacuation took place quickly and efficiently thanks to David Douglas High School's advanced planning and preparation for such an event."

KOIN Local 6 contributed to this news story.