Fri | Apr 20, 2018

Explosion probe - Ministry, police launch investigation into Mona High chemistry lab blast; students, teacher hospitalised

Published:Saturday | February 24, 2018 | 12:00 AMRomario Scott/Gleaner Writer

School officials at Mona High School are now hoping for the best for two students and a teacher who were injured in an explosion at the institution on Thursday.

The explosion has triggered an investigation by the Ministry of Education and the Matilda's Corner police because up to yesterday, principal of the St Andrew-based institution Kevin Jones was still unable to say what specifically caused the explosion.

Though details are still sketchy as to what transpired, reports from the principal and education minister Ruel Reid are that while a chemistry teacher was setting up the lab for a display for Jamaica Day, there was an explosion and five students, along with the teacher, were injured.

They were rushed to the University Hospital of the West Indies, and three of the students were released after being treated for cuts and bruises from flying shrapnel.

The other two students remain in hospital undergoing further treatment.

They had blurry vision but were able to discern the form of a hand held in front of them, the education ministry disclosed yesterday.

According to the ministry, hospital staff remains optimistic that they will not have any lasting vision issues as apparently, the problems they are having appear to be related to the physical trauma and not from exposure to dangerous chemicals.

However, the teacher who was in charge of the experiment is said to be in critical condition as shards from the apparatus that was being used flew into his eyes as a result of the blast.

When The Gleaner visited the school yesterday, there were bloodstains in the lab area where the experiment had been taking place, and there was shattered apparatus scattered around the area.

An education officer from the ministry was able to meet with parents of the two female students admitted to hospital and assured them of the ministry's support.

In the meantime, the school continued with its Jamaica Day celebration yesterday despite the obvious tragedy that had taken place the day before.

romario.scott@gleanerjm.com