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Denver high school lab fire injures four students

School spokeswoman Lindsay Neil says three students were treated and released after the fire on Monday, and the other was transferred to another hospital because of the extent of the injuries.

Authorities say four students have been burned and one suffered serious injuries after a fire erupted in a Denver high school chemistry lab during a demonstration involving methanol.

School spokeswoman Lindsay Neil says three students were treated and released after the fire on Monday, and the other was transferred to another hospital because of the extent of the injuries.

Neil says she doesn't yet have details on the injuries. Denver Fire Department spokesman Mark Watson says one student's injuries were serious.

Neil says a teacher at the Science, Math and Arts Academy charter high school was using methanol in a demonstration. Officials say no students were handling any materials.

A teacher was conducting a demonstration in an 11th-grade chemistry class when the fire broke out, and the students were not handling any of the materials, said Chris Gibbons, chief executive officer of Strive Preparatory Schools, which operates nine charter schools in the Denversystem.

Gibbons said he did not know what sort of demonstration the teacher was conducting.

It follows a flash fire at a Nevada science museum earlier this month that injured 13 people, mainly children. In that case, the blaze erupted after an employee applied chemicals in the wrong order in a demonstration simulating a tornado.

Watson said one of the students had serious injuries, but Gibbons said he could not comment on their conditions.

"We're all obviously very concerned for their safety and their recovery," Gibbons said. He declined to identify the teacher or the students.

Watson said the fire appeared to have burned itself out and didn't spread beyond the lab. It set off school alarms, prompting an evacuation, but students later returned to classes, the fire department spokesman said.

The school has 450 students in grades 9 through 11 and will add a 12th grade next year, Gibbons said.

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