Four hurt in chemical blast at 'Aiea High
By Gordon Y.K. Pang
Advertiser Central O'ahu Writer
By Gordon Y.K. Pang
'AIEA — Two 'Aiea High School students and two adult campus employees suffered minor burn, skin and eye irritation injuries following a small chemical explosion at the campus around 9:10 a.m. yesterday.
No one required hospitalization.
"They're complaining of burning, skin irritation, real minor stuff," said Bryan Cheplic, spokesman for the city Emergency Medical Services Division.
One male and one female student, both underclassmen, were near the device when it exploded. A male campus security guard and a health aide were burned when they went to help.
The explosion appears to have occurred from the improvised mixing of two different chemicals that turned into an acid, although police declined to speculate on what the mixture may have contained.
Principal Mike Tokioka said the two students injured were not involved in the making of the chemical.
The incident happened near the end of the "passing period" between the first and second classes of the day in a stairwell of Building D, Tokioka said.
The bottle appeared to be an ordinary drink container, said Capt. Terry Seelig of the Honolulu Fire Department. He described the explosion as "a chemical reaction process that takes place in a sealed container."
The explosion resulted in a small spill of the chemicals and HFD personnel neutralized it, Seelig said.
"This is an example of extremely risky and dangerous behavior," Seelig said. "It's very unpredictable when messing with chemicals in this manner to create something that has the ability to detonate and spread dangerous substances ... so I caution people not to play around with creating these homemade devices.
"There's been dire consequences on the Mainland. We're fortunate nothing worse happened today than what did happen," he said.
The results could be worse than when powder from fireworks are mixed together, Seelig said.
Both Tokioka and Honolulu police Lt. Glenn Maekawa said they are taking the incident seriously.
"We'd like to find the people that did it," Tokioka said. "There will be consequences if we find the people."
Manufacturing an explosive device is a federal offense and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives will be notified, Maekawa said. Police are also investigating the case as reckless endangerment.
The school was locked down for more than an hour.
Reach Gordon Y.K. Pang at email@example.com.