UPDATE: Explosion, chemical spill at SJHS forces Haz-Mat response, Shelter-In-Place order

UPDATED: Monday, June 7, 11 a.m., With Shelter-In-Place update.

SAN JACINTO, Calif. — Reports of a loud explosion and spill involving pool chemicals at San Jacinto High School caused a Haz-Mat response and Shelter-In-Place order at the school’s campus this morning, Monday, June 7. 

Although the Shelter-In-Place order has since been lifted, firefighters are continuing to work at the scene of the accident, which occurred in the school’s pool area, according to officials. District officials have since said there was no immediate danger to students – who have just four days left of this school’s year before summer break begins – and that no students were in the immediate area when the explosion occurred.

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Firefighters were summoned to the campus around 8:52 a.m. after an explosion rocked the campus and surrounding neighborhood. Responding to the pool area of the school’s campus, school officials discovered the chemical spill, San Jacinto Unified School District Superintended Dawn Lawrence told RCNS this morning.

According to Lawrence, the spill forced administrators to call for a Shelter-In-Place order for all students and teachers, who were asked to remain in their classrooms while firefighters mitigate the problem and clean up the unspecified chemicals that were involved. According to Lawrence the school is operating at 40% capacity due to ongoing Covid-related restrictions and mandates.

Although it was not initially clear if a school administrator discovered the spill or if it was discovered by students, the San Jacinto Sheriff’s Station has since reported the incident via social media, saying, “This morning, deputies responded to the San Jacinto High School for reports of an explosion.”

“They discovered a staff member had mixed two chemicals together in the pool area that had a violent chemical reaction,” Sheriff’s officials continued.

Cal Fire-Riverside Haz-Mat and fire officials continue to work at the scene of this morning’s chemical spill at San Jacinto High School. The situation forced a Shelter-In-Place order at the school, however, no students or staff are in immediate danger, SJUSD Superintendent Dawn Lawrence told RCNS this morning. Alex Cruz photo

“Even though we haven’t been able to use the school’s pool for the last two years due to Covid, we prepare for these types of situations throughout the school year,” Lawrence explained; adding that numerous District officials had responded to and will remain at the school until the all-clear is given for campus to return to normal operating protocols.

“Out of precaution, SJHS campus is in Shelter-in-Place while first responders address a chemical reaction … near the swimming pool,” SJUSD officials wrote in-part in a social media release explaining the situation to parents that added that no injuries to students or school staff had been reported.

At around 10:42 a.m., District officials updated that the Cal Fire on-scene Incident Commander had lifted the Shelter-in-Place order and that classes were returning to normal.

Officials remained at the scene as of this update.

This is a developing story that will be updated as new information becomes available.



Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

Trevor Montgomery, 49, moved in 2017 to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source (RCNS) and Shasta County News Source (SCNS).

Additionally, he writes or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County-based newspapers Valley News, Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; the Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County; and Mountain Echo in Shasta County. He is also a regular contributor to Thin Blue Line TV and Law Enforcement News Network and has had his stories featured on news stations throughout the Southern California and North State regions.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 30 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 18 grandchildren.

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