UPDATE: Student, 14, arrested in Skyview chemical incident

Nine sent to hospital after hazardous spill Thursday morning

By Emily Gillespie, Columbian Breaking News Reporter



A 14-year-old boy was arrested and booked on suspicion of assault and reckless endangerment Thursday after a hazardous chemical incident at Skyview High School.

The teen, a freshman, was booked into the Clark County Juvenile Detention Center as a result of an investigation by the Clark County Sheriff’s Office Major Crimes Unit.

Nine people were sent to Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center after a mixture of bleach and ammonia was spilled in a classroom, authorities said.

Vancouver Public Schools spokeswoman Pat Mattison said a hazardous material crew from Vancouver Fire Department was called to the school about 9:15 a.m. after the incident .

Clark County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Fred Neiman said at least eight individuals were exposed and suffered respiratory distress. Hospital staff said that two adults and seven students were brought in for observation and that all were eventually discharged.

A student had brought a mixture of the two chemicals in a container into a second-period class and showed it to another student, Mattison said. Then, she said, that student pushed the container away and the mixture spilled on the floor.

The school wing where the classroom is located was evacuated, but school remained in session, Mattison said.

The teen’s name was not released. The case remains under investigation, Neiman said.

Bleach mixed with ammonia produces toxic gases.

“Those two chemicals react with one another, creating heat,” said Vancouver Fire Department Capt. Mitch Nelson, who also leads the hazmat team. “It’ll create a gas which typically becomes chlorine gas depending on the percentages of the solutions.”

The results of exposure to the gas can be eye, skin and respiratory irritation, and in the right situation it can become mildly corrosive, he said.

“Chlorine gas reacts with moisture, so when we inhale it, it gets into our lungs, which are moist, and can create hydrochloric acid, which can eat away mucous lining in lungs,” he said.

Emily Gillespie: 360-735-4522; http://www.twitter.com/col_cops; emily.gillespie@columbian.com.

Patty Hastings contributed to this report.

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