Chemical spill forces Somers school evacuation

Somers High School will likely reopen Thursday after a chemical spill forced the evacuation of hundreds of students.

The superintendent says an advanced placement chemistry student dropped a bottle containing the potentially dangerous chemical bromine, which has toxic fumes. The small spill caused about 100 firefighters and other emergency personnel to evacuate students to Primrose Elementary School on the same campus around 8:30 a.m.

"It was unknown at the time what it was because the label deteriorated quickly," says Somers Fire Department Assistant Chief George Wahlers. "We called the hazmat team from the county."

"I'd say [the bottle] probably wasn't full," says Peter Pitocco, of emergency services. Somebody would have to have his snoot directly over it, inhaling it directly to have any serious effect."

While the spill was contained to one lab, 11 students and several staff members were checked out at area hospitals and released. Classes were later canceled.

The superintendent says it's not yet known why the student dropped the bottle or whether the student will face any disciplinary action.

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