10 Students Hospitalized After a Cell Phone Battery Explodes at Texas Middle School
The students were hospitalized for smoke inhalation, but did not suffer "significant" injuries
Ten middle school students were hospitalized Friday after an apparent cell phone battery failure flooded the air with smoke in Texas.
A student’s cell phone battery began smoking during lunch at Mayde Creek Junior High in Katy, Principal David Paz said in a letter to parents and staff that was obtained by PEOPLE.
A spokesman for the Westlake Fire Department confirmed to PEOPLE that the students were taken to Texas Children’s Hospital and Memorial Hermann Hospital for smoke inhalation, though none of the victims suffered “significant” injuries.
He said that the incident had been referred to by authorities as a “cell phone battery explosion” and as a “battery failure.”
A spokesperson for the school district, meanwhile, told PEOPLE that 10 students were “affected by smoke inhalation and ancillary symptoms, such as nausea and irritated eyes,” and were transported to the hospital as a precaution.
Katy ISD Police Department Chief of Police R.E. Jinks confirmed the number of students to PEOPLE.
“I’ve been here for six years and… that’s the first time I’ve ever dealt with a call of that nature,” the Westlake spokesman told PEOPLE of the smoking battery.
Paz’s letter said that students in the cafeteria when the incident occurred were relocated to the gym, and that the campus did not need to be evacuated.
“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,” Paz wrote. “I would like to reassure parents that the safety of our students at MCJH and throughout Katy ISD is a top priority.”
Lt. Joe Driver of the fire department told the Houston Chronicle that there is no indication that the battery was set off on purpose.
One student, however, told the outlet that the incident occurred shortly after other students were seen playing with the phone.
“Some kids were like, smashing their phones and they had like, a battery pack,” a seventh-grader said. “And then they like, smashed it and it exploded…and they got like, asthma attacks.”
The Chronicle reported that the district had an early dismissal day on Friday, so most of the school’s 1,100 students had already left campus.