Chemical spill causes partial third floor evacuation


Following a small chemical spill in room 320 on the third floor of C.M. Russell High School Thursday morning, members of the Great Falls Fire Department suited up in order to clean up the spill and ensure that all students and staff were safe. Classrooms on the south side of the third floor — from room 317 to room 326 — were evacuated  for a couple of class periods, and students from those classrooms met in the Media Center. School will be in session as usual on Friday, Jan. 11.

The following letter was sent to all students in Ryan Anderson’s third period English class:


A class room of 28 students and teacher was exposed to a chemical substance today near the end of 3rd period (approximately 10:55am). The Great Falls Fire Department’s Hazardous Materials Team has determined the chemical is most likely Carbon Tetrachloride (a skin and respiratory irritant).

Each student who was in the room when the spill occurred has been examined by the First Responders from the Great Falls Fire Department along with Emergency Medical Technicians from the Great Falls Ambulance Service.

The chemical was brought to school in a vial to be used as a prop for a skit in Mr. Anderson’s English class. The student who brought the chemical did so unbeknownst to his or her parents. The teacher assumed the liquid in the vial was colored water. During the performance, the vial was accidentally dropped and the vial broke, releasing the liquid. SIDE NOTE: The antique vial contained a chemical because its intended use was as a “fire grenade.”

Students were exposed for a very short time as class was nearly over. Room 320 was immediately evacuated and sealed, and the south hallway of the 3rd floor was evacuated while First Responders and the Hazardous Materials Team took care of students as well as chemical clean up. Following an air-quality test to ensure there was not residual chemical pollution, classes in the south hall of the 3rd floor resumed.