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Chemical Release Sends 7 Students To Hospital

Friday, August 17, 2007 |

On Friday, August 17, 2007 at 1:41 PM, 2 Companies of Los Angeles Firefighters, 2 LAFD Rescue Ambulances, 1 EMS Battalion Captain and 1 Battalion Chief Officer Command Team, a total of 17 Los Angeles Fire Department personnel under the direction of Battalion Chief John Vidovich, responded to a Multi-Patient Chemical Investigation at 152 North Vermont Avenue in mid-town Los Angeles.

Summoned by School Police, Los Angeles Firefighters arrived quickly at the gymnasium of Virgil Middle School, where they discovered 23 students who had self-evacuated the building.

According to witnesses, two dozen students had been decorating inside the gymnasium for an upcoming dance, when one boy suddenly discharged an aerosol canister in close proximity to the other students.

The effected boys and girls, all ambulatory and in mild distress with respiratory and eye irritation, were promptly moved to a well-ventilated triage area north of the gymnasium, where their complaints largely subsided.

Firefighters continued their medical assessment, emotional reassurance and medical treatment of the group while conferring with school officials, who were unable to identify the youth and therefore the exact substance involved or reason for its discharge.

A cursory evaluation of the gymnasium by LAFD personnel identified no escalating hazard or evidence of an irritant, and the facility was returned to the control of school officials.

Of the 23 students triaged, seven mildly symptomatic girls ages 12 through 13 were transported to Children's Hospital of Los Angeles in good condition.

While witnesses believe the aerosol to have been some manner of household product, the substance was not positively identified by Fire Department personnel.

The Los Angeles School Police Department will be handling the investigation.

Submitted by Brian Humphrey, Spokesman
Los Angeles Fire Department


Anonymous said...

This is an interesting way to learn about the Fire Department in Los Angeles. I've been a big fan of LAFD since Emergency. Be careful out there.

Landon said...

While listening to the event, I myself heard Mace or Pepper spray, as well as the household cleaning products. Was their ever a final finding as to what the product was?

LAFD Media and Public Relations said...


Thanks for the note. We appreciate your interest in the Los Angeles Fire Department.

As mentioned above...

While witnesses believe the aerosol to have been some manner of household product, the substance was not positively identified by Fire Department personnel.

...still remains true. The product was not (then or now) positively identifired by Fire Department personnel. Anyone desiring further information can contact the School Police Department, who were left in charge of the scene.

As you infer, scanner audio by itself will rarely if ever provide an accurate picture of what is taking place at the scene of an emergency.

Respectfully Yours in Safety and Service,

Brian Humphrey
Public Service Officer
Los Angeles Fire Department

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