Jennifer Millman

4 Students Hurt as ‘Large Fireball' Erupts During Chemistry Class at NYC Girls' Catholic School: Fire Official

Four students were hurt by a "large fireball" that erupted during a chemistry class mishap at a prestigious all girls' Catholic high school in the Bronx Wednesday, according to a fire official at the scene and the school president.

FDNY Deputy Assistant Chief Joe Woznica said all four students were taken to hospitals -- three with burns, the fourth with respiratory-related issues -- after the accident during first period at St. Catharine Academy on Williamsbridge Road. All are expected to be OK. 

Sister Patricia Wolf, president of St. Catharine's, a private school with annual tuition rates near $9,000, said the teacher was conducting a flame experiment and the flame apparently got too large. Wolf said there were no hazardous materials involved and the teacher's actions were not believed to be reckless.

The teacher, a man who has been on the faculty for about three years, was distraught after the accident, Wolf said.

The 125-year-old school enrolls about 500 students in grades 9-12, according to a 2016 annual report. Parents of all students were notified by text about the accident immediately after it happened, Wolf said. Guardians of the injured students were called.

The school resumed on a regular schedule, though students were set for an early dismissal Wednesday ahead of the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend. 

According to its website, "St. Catharine Academy has a 100% college acceptance rate to some of the finest colleges and universities in the world." 

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