Former Lincoln Park HS student sues teacher over methanol fire

SHARE Former Lincoln Park HS student sues teacher over methanol fire
SHARE Former Lincoln Park HS student sues teacher over methanol fire

A former student at Lincoln Park High School is suing a science teacher and the Chicago Board of Education over an experiment that left her with severe burns in 2013.

On Nov. 25, 2013, Tatiana Schwirblat was 16 when she participated in a class experiment involving methanol vapor at the school at 2001 N. Orchard St., according to a lawsuit filed Thursday in Cook County Circuit Court.

Schwirblat, now 18, alleges her science teacher failed to follow safety guidelines and knowingly added methanol to an open flame, causing a fire that burned her severely, according to the suit.

She alleges the Board of Education was negligent in allowing the teacher to perform an unsafe experiment.

Fire officials said at the time that methanol was being burned inside a container that shattered, and the chemical spilled. A total of three students were taken to the hospital.

A Chicago Public Schools spokeswoman at the time attributed the fire to a “mechanical malfunction,” adding that the instructor quickly put out the flames and followed additional safety protocols.

The lawsuit further claims that the teacher pulled off Schwirblat’s clothes in front of her classmates and pushed her into a shower.

The teacher named as a defendant in the suit still teaches science at Lincoln Park High School, according to the school’s website.

The two-count lawsuit seeks an unspecified amount in damages.

A representative for CPS did not respond Thursday for a request for comment.

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