Chemistry teacher who was involved in lab fire that hurt 4 students fired

Strive Academy in Denver

Emergency crews responded to a fire at Strive Academy in Denver on Sept. 15, 2014.

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DENVER — The chemistry teacher involved in a classroom flash fire that hurt four students, one of them critically, has been fired.

A letter telling parents Daniel Powell was let go was sent to them in the mail on Friday. The fire happened at STRIVE Prep — SMART Academy in on the Lalo Delgado campus in southwest Denver on September 15.

Investigators said the demonstration the teacher attempted was a bad idea from the start.

They say the teacher just didn’t understand how dangerous this type of chemistry demonstration could be. There have been similar accidents at other schools, and the U.S. Chemical Safety Board says these kinds of experiments are too dangerous for schools like this one.

The board, which came to Denver one day later to look into the accident says the school’s chemistry teacher was trying to do a methanol demonstration, but the board says he seriously underestimated the danger of methanol.

It sparked a 15-foot wall of fire causing a school evacuation and sending four students to the hospital.

16-year-old Dominic Vargas was the most seriously hurt.

Dominic was still in the hospital Tuesday recovering from burns to his upper body. The other three students who were hurt were treated and released right after the fire happened.

The family has set up a go-fund-me account to help with Dominic’s substantial medical expenses.




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