STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga. (CBS46) – Attorneys for a Redan High School student who suffered third-degree burns during a chemistry experiment gone wrong are asking for federal and state investigations into the incident.
On August 6, Malachi McFadden, 15, was participating in a chemistry experiment involving flammable substances. Chemistry teacher, Bridgette Blowe, allegedly lit a dollar bill on fire using the flammable substance. McFadden’s attorneys said Blowe then poured more of the substance on the open flame to “make the flame bigger.”
This created what the lawyers called, a “flame jet,” that caused McFadden to catch fire. The student suffered severe burns over his face, head, arms, neck and torso that required multiple skin graph and cosmetic surgeries.
McFadden’s attorneys said Blowe did not provide protective equipment, nor did she advise McFadden to stand 10 feet from the flames as mandated.
The call for federal and state investigations comes after attorneys said the school’s investigation has taken more than a month without yielding any information to McFadden’s family.
Attorney Chris L. Stewart said in a statement:
We are asking that impartial experts help us determine what exactly happened to Malachi McFadden in an effort to prevent another incident like this from occurring.
Student safety should be the primary concern of all government officials, so we believe it’s imperative that outside, third-party experts be involved.
The family prays that this prolonged investigation by the school district is not being delayed in an effort to find a legal loophole in order for the district to avoid responsibility in the upcoming lawsuit.
A spokesperson for the school district issued the following statement to CBS46 in August:
The health and safety of students and staff are among DeKalb County School District's top priorities.
Today, Aug. 6, an accident occurred at Redan High School during a lab experiment in which a student was burned from a flame. Emergency personnel were called to the scene to provide medical services to the student.
To maintain transparency with the Redan High School community, a communication from school leadership was sent to parents during the school day and after school.
The district considers this an isolated incident, but all safety measures will be reviewed and reiterated moving forward. The DeKalb County School District will rally around this student on his road to recovery.