• Deputy: Student caught fire during school demonstration


    DOUGLAS COUNTY, Ga. - Doctors are treating a local high school student who caught on fire during a school experiment.

    A fellow student came to the student’s aide at Chapel Hill High School in Douglas County.

    Channel 2's Dave Huddleston is live at the school. With how the  young man possibly saved the girls life.

    The girl was showing off her science experiment last night at the school during a science fair when something went wrong and caused the experiment to blow up.

    Pictures from surveillance video showed a student's science experiment burst into flames, which caught the student's clothes on fire. She started running and screaming.  A teacher threw the student to the ground and tried to put out the flames.  But we’re told 17-year-old Will Wheeler ran over with a safety blanket and covered the girl.

    "You don't often get a chance to say, ‘Hey, look what my kid did,’ when he really did something," said Wheeler’s father, Maj. Tommy Wheeler.

    Wheeler works at the Douglas County Sheriff's Department.  He showed Channel 2’s Dave Huddleston the video of the accident, but didn't want us to record it. He said his son didn’t tell him about his heroic actions.

    “We asked him, ‘Why didn't you tell us?’ And he said, ‘Well, I forgot about that,’” Wheeler said.

    The student, who was burned on 25 percent of her upper body, was taken to Grady Hospital and is expected to make a full recovery.

    The school released a statement to Channel 2 Action News:

    On Thursday evening, October 3, 2013, Chapel Hill HS was hosting an Advanced Placement Open House. Students were involved with program presentations throughout the building. One group of students, under the supervision of their teachers, was demonstrating the identifying of chemicals by the color of their flame when burning. During this process a flammable liquid dispensed from the container unexpectedly fast and ignited, involving a 12th grade female student and catching her on fire. One of her teachers, standing nearby, responded quickly by getting the student down on the ground to extinguish the flames. Another teacher ran approximately 30 feet away to get a fire blanket and handed it to a male student to run back to the female student to put over her, helping to further extinguish the flames.

    911 was called and an ambulance transported the female victim to the hospital. It has been reported to us that she suffered burns on about 25% of her upper body. She remains in the hospital for treatment and reported to us that she is expected to recover fully.  At this time, the family and teachers are asking that their privacy be respected and do not wish to make any further comment. The school district will advise if there is an update or those involved desire to share further.

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