Teacher Shelley Barros was showing the chemistry class at St. Marcellinus Secondary School how different chemicals burn when a nearby Bunsen burner ignited a beaker of methanol in her hand, students said.

She dropped the flask onto a work table, scattering flames onto students in the front row.
Wednesday’s classroom fire sent five Mississauga teenagers to hospital, one who remains in critical condition, and sparked a government investigation into how a routine science experiment went so horribly wrong.

“At this point, everyone’s just too shaken to talk about it. Either they were on fire or they were watching their friends on fire,” said a Grade 11 student, who asked not to be named.

Katherine Dos Santos, 17, is in critical but stable condition at Sunnybrook hospital’s burn unit, her father said. Her face, neck, chest and hands are covered with second- and third-degree burns.

“At this point, we don’t really know (anything). You have to wait and see,” Jose Dos Santos said. “There are no words. It’s shocking. We can’t believe (this happened).”

Two students were treated inside the main office while five others were taken to Credit Valley Hospital, police said. Four were released Wednesday night.

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