North Central students are injured when a chemical experiment explodes

FARMERSBURG – A North Central High School Senior Ethan Hooper and three others were injured when a chemistry experiment went wrong on Tuesday.

According to Ethan’s father David, his son suffered second and third-degree burns on his left arm, elbow, fingertips, and face. Hooper was airlifted Tuesday to Eskenazi Health burn center after being transported to Terre Haute Regional Hospital after the accident. Hooper will require skin graft surgery and therapy. His first surgery is scheduled for Friday.

Three other students were treated and released at a local hospital for minor cuts and burns, according to Nancy Liston, school principal. Authorities indicate one other individual may also have been affected.

The class was conducting a science experiment similar to one conducted many times before, but for reasons yet to be determined, “There was a flash fire and explosion,” said Sullivan County Sheriff Clark Cottom.

Sheriff Clark Cottom

The state fire marshal’s office is continuing its investigation to determine what happened, including whether containers of chemicals were properly labeled, Sheriff Cottom added.

Two investigators with the Indiana State Fire Marshal’s office are assisting with the investigation. The Indiana Department of Homeland Security conducted interviews at the school on Wednesday.

Mark Baker, Northeast School Corp. superintendent, released the following statement: “The school corporation regrets the accident that occurred. We are cooperating fully with the Indiana State Fire Marshal’s office as they investigate the incident. We wish the students involved a full and speedy recovery.”