DeKalb County

Teen recovering from severe burns all over his body after school lab accident

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — A 15-year-old student who was severely burned in a school lab experiment is still recovering days after the accident.

Malachi McFadden suffered third-degree burns all over his body from a fire in his chemistry class at Redan High School.

"He's still in intensive care. It's a really bad situation," attorney Chris Stewart told Channel 2's Tyisha Fernandes. 

Stewart is representing McFadden's family. Doctors said the teen will never be the same again after the accident.

Channel 2 decided not to show the most recent pictures because the burns were too graphic.

"Third-degree burns to his face, his head, his arms, full body. Over 10% third degree burn. It's horrific," Stewart said.


On Tuesday, McFadden was in chemistry class when his teacher decided to do an experiment by lighting a dollar bill on fire.

"The fire went out of control as expected because there was ethanol in the bowl," Stewart said. "And instead of putting water on it to put it out, allegedly the teacher grabbed a jar of ethanol and threw it into the bowl."

The family told Fernandes they hired Stewart because they couldn't get any answers from the school.

"One of your students right here is permanently disfigured because of the actions of the school," Stewart said.

Channel 2 Action News asked the school district how long the teacher has been employed and why the experiment was conducted with students sitting so close by.

DeKalb County Schools said it's all under investigation.

The district also told Fernandes a school nurse went to the hospital with McFadden and school counselors provided support to students who witnessed what happened.

According to district officials, they have been in contact with the family.