Fire/Explosion Protection

Halloween Science Experiment Causes Evacuation

By Chemical Processing Staff

Oct 31, 2017

Students at Holliston High School, Holliston, Mass., learned firsthand that some chemical reactions can be dangerous. A Halloween-themed experiment gone wrong forced students to evacuate and eventually be sent home for the day after a chemistry teacher at the school did a routine experiment.

According to sophomore Gwen Freeley, the teacher lit a table on fire in a controlled burn as part of the experiment. The flames caused the sprinklers to go off and the water then reacted with chemicals in another part of the classroom. “They do this experiment every year. This is the first time something went wrong,” says Freeley.

A brief news item in the Holliston Reporter notes that a hazmat team was called to the school after a noxious gas was formed from the reaction.

Incidents like these are good reminders to take inventory at chemical facilities to ensure there aren’t hazardous accidents waiting to happen. A recent two-part series in Chemical Processing highlights prevention tactics for process safety incidents. You can read them here: