Suspicious liquid forces Dulaney High evacuation

May 12, 2007|By Gina Davis and Nick Shields | Gina Davis and Nick Shields,sun reporters

A Dulaney High School student was arrested yesterday after the discovery of a bottle containing chemicals prompted an evacuation of the Cockeysville school, county police said.

The student, who had not been charged by yesterday evening, was questioned after a teacher found the bottle in a second-floor boys bathroom - the second instance in nine days that a container filled with a suspicious liquid forced students from a Baltimore County school.

The teacher who found the bottle yesterday at Dulaney High was taken to Greater Baltimore Medical Center after being overcome by fumes with "an odor of chlorine," county police spokesman Bill Toohey said. Thomas Famulari, 59, a science teacher at the school, found the bottle about 8 a.m. in a wastebasket in the restroom, police said.

FOR THE RECORD - An article about the evacuation of Dulaney High in yesterday's Maryland section gave an incorrect location for the school. Dulaney High School is in Timonium.
The Sun regrets the error.

He was released from the hospital yesterday afternoon, Toohey said.

No students were in danger because the fumes did not reach far beyond the restroom, Toohey said. But he added, "Somebody putting toxic fumes into the air of a school is a serious act."

Dulaney students, who were gathered on grassy areas about a block away from the school, said they were midway through first period when they were evacuated.

Jasmine Ivey, a 15-year-old sophomore, said she was taking a chemistry test in a classroom adjacent to the boys bathroom where the bottle was found. Initially, the students were escorted to one of the school's lunchrooms but then were sent to the library so they could resume their test, she said. Soon after, the fire alarm sounded.

Camille Tinnin, 16 and also a sophomore, said she thought the alarm was just a drill.

"I didn't think it was anything serious until we were out here for about an hour, and then I saw the emergency vehicles," she said.

Many students wondered whether the commotion was the result of a senior prank or possibly someone trying to mimic the recent incident at Sudbrook Magnet Middle School. Two teenage girls were arrested on explosives charges at Sudbrook after a threatening note led to the evacuation and early closing May 3 of the school in Pikesville.

Police found a document, apparently printed by one of the girls from the Internet, that explained how to construct a "soda pop bomb," according to a police report.

Toohey said yesterday that he would not speculate on any potential connection between the Sudbrook and Dulaney incidents.

Principal Lyle Patzkowsky said last night that he sent an automated voice mail using the school system's mass-messaging system to parents to inform them about the incident.

While students were outside during the evacuation, school officials allowed their parents to take them home early, but fewer than 50 of the school's 1,950 students did so, Patzkowsky said.

Investigators continued to analyze the liquid yesterday but had not determined what it was, Toohey said.

Officials from the Maryland Department of the Environment's emergency response and spill response teams, Baltimore County Fire Department's hazardous materials unit and the county Police Department's bomb squad were at the school throughout the morning conducting an investigation.

Sun reporter Gus Sentementes contributed to this article.

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