2 hurt in boiler explosion, Bates Middle School evacuated

School will open on time Thursday

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - Two people were hurt and a school evacuated after a boiler exploded Wednesday morning.

Bob Mosier, spokesperson for Anne Arundel County School, says two employees were hurt in the incident at Bates Middle School in Annapolis.

The two victims, a 55-year-old and 50-year-old man had respiratory and surface area burns.  They were taken to Bayview Burn and have non-life threatening injuries.

Annapolis Fire Department spokesman Dale Thompson says there was a heat problem at the school and the two were working to repair the problem when the incident happened.

Mosier describes the incident as a "puffback" during which there was a release of built up pressure on on a line.

"There was no fire, but lots of smoke and soot in the boiler room," Mosier says.

The school was evacuated and all students were taken next door to the Maryland Hall for Creative Arts. Students were eventually allowed to return to the inside of the school, but they were let go for the rest of the day. Thompson said the evacuation went well.

"They followed their primary routes out of the building to their designated area," he said.

Parents at the scene said they were impressed by the quick response of the school. Pamela Curtis has a daughter in the seventh grade at Bates Middle School. She said she got to the campus prior to district alerts going out because she saw a message of the fire department's Facebook page.

"The kids were all out," she said. "It was very, very quiet."

A cleaning team was called to Bates later in the afternoon to address what the school district describes as any "lingering issues" from the incident. Mosier says air tests were conducted, and the building was cleared by the building inspector, fire inspector and boiler inspector.

"Bates, like most of our buildings, uses alternating boilers. We are working now to run a full safety test on the second boiler in anticipation of using it tomorrow," Mosier said. "There is currently no hot water to the building, but we are working diligently to restore that. However, there is cold water, and faucets and restroom toilets are operational."

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