Great Falls

Jan 10, 2013 1:24 PM by KRTV

Partial evacuation at CMR due to possible hazmat spill

A partial evacuation is underway at CMR High School in Great Falls due to a possible hazardous material spill.

Initial reports indicate that the third floor of the three-story building has been evacuated.

There are no reports at this time that any students or staff members have been injured.

Great Falls Fire Rescue and Great Falls police officers are at the scene.

We have dispatched a reporter and will update you as we learn more.

UPDATE, 1 pm: We've learned that an old fire extinguisher broke on the floor of a 3rd-floor classroom, spilling a small amount of carbon tetrachloride.

Three students reportedly came in contact with the substance and were being evaluated on the scene; we were told they did not require transport to the hospital for treatment.

During the incident, students were told to leave the third floor and remain in the lower levels; they were not ordered to evacuate outside of the building.

Authorities are performing "mopping up" at the scene at this time.

We will update you as we learn more and have details online and on this evening's newscast.

UPDATE, 2pm: We have learned that one of the students was taken to Benefis hospital for respiratory problems, but is doing fine now.

The student's mother tells us that the fire extinguisher was being used as a prop for a play when it dropped and broke, spilling the substance.

UPDATE, 5:30 pm: A chemical spill at C.M. Russell High School forced students and staff on the third floor to evacuate on Thursday.

Nearly 30 students and four teachers were evaluated by paramedics following the scare inside the CMR classroom.

Great Falls Fire Rescue says what they think was carbon tetrachloride spilled late this morning, triggering the brief evacuation.

During an English class, students were acting out a play and using an antique fire extinguisher, which is known to contain the carcinogen.

A student accidentally dropped the device, and three students came into to contact with the substance including freshman Jacari Murphy.

Paramedics on scene advised he get checked out at the hospital as an extra precaution.

Jacari said, "I was the one who was mostly exposed to it. And other students were showing symptoms of illness. And I also received a cut from it a little bit so, just to be safe."

All the other students in the class had their vitals checked and were evaluated by paramedics at the school.

The third floor was re-opened for classes after about 30 minutes, and by the end of the day, students were back inside the room where the spill occurred.

Principal Dick Kloppel says the quick actions of teachers really helped the clean-up process and keep students safe.

He noted, "I'm very very pleased with the response of the fire and rescue. Those guys are so professional and so good. The EMTs that were working with us and also the staff that was involved just did everything by the book."

Jacari is a wrestler for CMR and says he plans to wrestle at the Friday meet in Choteau.

Great Falls Fire Rescue said that the amount spilled afternoon wasn't a huge amount, but advise that parents whose children were in the vicinity during the incident monitor their teens, especially if they suffer from asthma.

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