A Palo Alto High School teacher suffered first- and second-degree burns after a fire broke out during a science experiment on Wednesday morning, the Palo Alto Fire Department said.
The fire department responded to a report of the incident at 11:23 a.m. Wednesday. The patient, a female chemistry teacher who has not been identified, suffered first- and second-degree burns to approximately 18 percent of her body, but the injuries were reported to be non-life threatening, according to Battalion Chief Kevin McNally.
A student in the class, Skylar Burris, said her teacher was conducting an experiment with methane -- filling an empty milk carton with methane so that it would launch off the edge of the desk when the gas escaped -- when there was suddenly a "giant eruption of flames." The teacher ran to a shower in the classroom, the student said.
The teacher was transported to a burn unit in the area for treatment, according to McNally.
There were no injuries to Paly students, and there was minimal damage to the classroom -- only burned paper and books that were on a desk, McNally said in a press release. The student said some backpacks and binders were burned. The fire was out before Palo Alto Fire units arrived.
The cause of the accident is still under investigation, McNally said.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.