WEST NEWBURY — West Newbury Fire Chief Michael Dwyer and Groveland Fire Chief Robert Valentine report that their respective fire departments responded to Pentucket Regional High School as a precaution after a science experiment did not perform exactly as expected.
At 8:30 a.m. Friday, Oct. 16, the two departments were dispatched to the high school, located at 24 Main St. in West Newbury, for an alarm activation. Upon arrival, firefighters were notified that a routine science experiment went wrong when a water vapor cloud caused by the experiment was sucked out the window of one classroom and into a nearby one.
Out of an abundance of caution, the building was evacuated. Firefighters working with a HazMat team member from the Amesbury Fire Department, determined that there was no danger as the cloud consisted only of water vapor.
The experiment involved sodium and water and is a routine part of the science curriculum. Fire crews cleared the area by 9:44 a.m., and classes resumed.
The Groveland Fire Department automatically responds as a mutual aid partner when alarms are activated at the high school. Groveland firefighters provided station coverage in West Newbury in addition to providing support on-scene. Atlantic Ambulance also responded to the high school and evaluated students and staff in the two classrooms as a precautionary measure.