'Chemical device' bursts in SkyView Academy classroom; Students taken to gym and classes cancelled

5 students, teacher treated at hospital, released

HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. - A chemical device burst in a SkyView Academy classroom in Highlands Ranch on Tuesday morning, sending five students and a teacher to the hospital and forcing the cancelation of classes.

A total of 10 people were evaluated after the device "went off," the Douglas County Sheriff posted online. The five students and the teacher were treated at the hospital for "chemical-type, respiratory-type issues," and later released, said sheriff's office spokesman Sgt. Ron Hanavan.

Late in the afternoon, sheriff's officials said they had determined the "ruptured" device was an intentional act and they'd taken two juvenile males into custody as part of a criminal investigation. Ultimately, the 18th Judicial District Attorney's Office will decide whether to file charges in the case, sheriff's officials said.

The chemical device went off about 10:30 a.m. in a high school classroom at the charter school located at 6161 Business Center Drive.

Sheriff's officials didn't release details about the chemical device, only saying that a "chemical reaction found within the container caused the device to rupture."

A female student told 7NEWS reporter Lindsey Sablan that a boy was putting a chemical in a water bottle and "shaking it up."

Students told 7NEWS that just after third period, teachers told them to run outside.

"I heard teachers yelling go outside, go out on the field or find your third-period teacher," said A.J. Long, a 10th grader.

The Douglas County School District said students were evacuated outside, then sent to the gym to stay warm. Parents were told to pick up students there.

The sheriff's bomb squad responded to the school along with hazardous material teams and the Little Fire Department, the South Metro Fire Department and ambulances.

"My friend got hurt and then this other guy got a chemical burn on his leg and then it like seeped through his clothing and they inhaled it," the female student said.

A friend of a female student told 7NEWS the girl had chemical burns on her hands, face and eyes.

An automated phone call to parents at 11:09 a.m. called it an "isolated incident" and said the school was activating its "lightning dismissal plan."

School officials said the evacuation process went according to plans and how it had been practiced in drills.

School officials say SkyView will reopen for classes on Wednesday.

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