Student’s dry-ice science experiment explodes; school evacuated

A science experiment went awry Wednesday when it set off two dry-ice explosions at a Mar Vista middle school, prompting an evacuation and causing a student and an LAPD bomb technician to suffer minor injuries.

A student had brought a couple of pieces of dry ice to Mark Twain Middle School for a science experiment, said Los Angeles police Sgt. Joel Sydanmaa. But he brought them in air-tight containers -- not a good idea when dealing with dry ice.

Dry ice is the solid form of carbon dioxide. When put in a small, air-tight container, pressure builds as the dry ice warms up and turns into gas. That pressure can keep building until the container explodes.

The first container burst in a classroom shortly after noon, Sydanmaa said, and caused what he described as “very, very minor injuries” to one student. A janitor moved the other container outside, and the LAPD bomb squad was called in.


The second container exploded as bomb technicians were examining it, Sydanmaa said. One technician suffered what the sergeant also described as “very, very minor injuries.”

The student was driven to an urgent care facility by his parents, Sydanmaa said. The bomb tech was treated by paramedics at the scene.

Sydanmaa said students at the school were briefly evacuated during the incident.

Though so-called dry-ice bombs have made recent headlines -- including explosions at Disneyland and Los Angeles International Airport -- Sydanmaa said the situation at the middle school was considered “completely an accident.”


“I don’t think he’ll bring dry ice to school anymore,” he said.


‘Arab’ mascot: School officials to take public input at meeting

Man’s body found in fire-charred tent behind house in Riverside

Youth pastor slain in Pomona remembered as ‘big brother’ at vigil

Twitter: @katemather | Google+

The stories shaping California

Get up to speed with our Essential California newsletter, sent six days a week.

You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.