Chemical spill causes evacuation at Valley high school

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POSTED: Friday, September 13, 2013 - 3:35pm

UPDATED: Saturday, September 14, 2013 - 10:06am

An accident in the science lab forced Donna High School to evacuate all of its students this morning after a teacher broke a jar of formaldehyde.

The school immediately called in proper authorities to the scene.  No students were in the area of the spill at the time, but the school conducted a fire drill to evacuate students as a precaution.

"We were told that the HazMat team would take one, maybe two hours to go in, evaluate, assess, and clean up," said Roberto Loredo, Donna ISD Superintendent.  "So we made a decision to send our students home."

Formaldehyde is a gas with a very powerful odor.  Exposure can result in watery eyes, a burning sensation in the eyes and throat, and in some cases can cause nausea as well as difficulty breathing.

"As we speak right now, HazMat is completing their analysis and their clean up, so I'm waiting around to get a final report on the analysis of what happened," Loredo explained.

More than a dozen students at Donna High School were taken to a nearby hospital after exposure to the chemical, but updates are positive, saying that those students are currently doing just fine.

"Some of them were sent for maybe dehydration, I need to get those details but as we speak now I'm being told everybody is okay," said Loredo.

The teacher who was in the classroom where the formaldehyde was spilled is said to be doing fine as well.  Loredo says the school is pleased with how things transpired despite this tricky situation.

"We feel pretty good about the way things were handled.  We want to thank the Donna community that was really patient with us as we tried to explain what was happening."

The superintendent confirmed that tonight's football game at Donna High School is still scheduled for tonight.

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