KATY, HARRIS COUNTY (Covering Katy News) - Ten Mayde Creek Junior High School students were transported to area hospitals on Friday morning after a cell phone battery malfunction. The incident happened at 11:30 a.m.
The Harris County Fire Marshall's office responded to the scene to investigate "the circumstances surrounding a cell phone battery failure that resulted in the release of heat, smoke and sparks."
The Fire Marshall's Office also reported one person suffered thermal burns. It was not clear if that person was a student or member of the staff. Katy ISD was not able to provide any information about a person suffering thermal burns.
"There were ten students who were affected by smoke inhalation, and symptoms like nausea and irritated eyes," said Katy ISD spokesperson Maria DiPetta. "Some were transported (to the hospital) out of precaution," she said.
There were also additional students treated at the scene who did not need to be taken to the hospital.
The cell phone battery meltdown happened in the cafeteria.
"Students in the cafeteria were immediately relocated to the gym," said an emailed statement from principal David Paz to parents and guardians.
DiPetta said many early social media reports about the incident were wrong.
"At the start of this there was quite a bit of information out there that was not correct," she said. "There was no fire and no explosion, contrary to rumors that circulated in the public," DiPetta said. "No furniture caught on fire. There was just a small burned area on one of the cafeteria tables. There was not a fire," Dipetta added.
Friday was also an early dismissal day and the sight of students leaving at 12:55 p.m. led to additional incorrect assumptions that the school had been evacuated DiPetta told Covering Katy.
"The campus did not need to be evacuated and remained on schedule," Paz wrote in his letter to parents and guardians.
"We want to reassure parents that the safety of the students is our top priority," DiPetta said.
A school dance was scheduled for 1 p.m. but was canceled due to the incident according to a robocall made to parents.
The school is located at 2700 Greenhouse Road.
The principal's letter is below.
February 14, 2020
Dear Mayde Creek Junior High (MCJH) Parents/Guardians and Staff,
The purpose of this message is to inform you that today during lunch a student’s cell phone battery began to smoke. Students in the cafeteria were immediately relocated to the gym. The campus did not need to be evacuated and remained on schedule. Any student experiencing distress from the smoke were referred to the nurse. EMS services were called to the campus to provide additional medical services as needed.
I would like to reassure parents that the safety of our students at MCJH and throughout Katy ISD is a top priority.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Dr. David Paz
Mayde Creek Junior High