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Cooking class explosion: Hot chocolate explosion, severe burns afflict 1 student

A fiery explosion takes place in a cooking classroom
A fiery explosion takes place in a cooking classroom
SchoolsPlus.org, Creative Commons

A cooking class explosion occurred this week after gas ignited while children were heating up hot chocolate in a school biology lab. A total of 5 high school students in the Chicago area school were injured, with 1 student being afflicted with severe burns to the hands, arms, and face. ABC News provides the details on this shocking incident that happened this morning at Northside College Prep High School.

While students were trying to heat up hot chocolate to counter the chilly winter weather, a cooking class explosion shocked a number of the teens to their core this week. Five students at Northside College Prep High School in Chicago were close enough to the sudden blast to be hurt and rushed to hospitals, though officials say that only 1 student was severely injured from the flames.

In Northside's biology wing this Wednesday morning, school and fire department officials confirm that gas must have ignited while students were warming hot chocolate and caused an explosion that witnesses later described as a “bright flash.” Four students from the class were taken in for medical attention, while 1 high school teen was afflicted with “severe burns … to the face, neck, and arms.”

According to the press release on the cooking class explosion, two of the students were described as being in stable condition on the way to the hospital, a third was said to be in good condition, while a fourth said he required no emergency medical treatment. The fifth is currently being treated for the heat burns.

Authorities investigating the blast at the Chicago public school said that the “small fire” took place on a single-burner stove in the middle of students trying to heat up hot chocolate for a “routine cooking instruction procedure.”

All of the students in the class were supervised by a Home Ec. teacher when the gas suddenly ignited. The heat and flames were said to be strong enough to cause the overhead water sprinkles to immediately turn on.

"Fortunately, the fire was doused immediately," added a fire department spokesperson.

The entire school was briefly evacuated before all students were permitted to safely return to their regular schedules after the cooking class explosion was no longer viewed as a threat. The lab is not expected to be used again until a thorough investigation into just what happened is completed.