High School Chemistry Experiment Disaster Victim Opens Up About Ordeal
"Like something out of a horror movie," is how 22 year-old Alonzo Yanes described his appearance, after a chemistry experiment gone wrong six years ago left him with burns on 30 percent of his body.
Yanes was 16 in January 2014 and attending Beacon High School in Manhattan, New York when he was left disfigured after a teacher's chemistry experiment in front of his class went drastically wrong.
The popular Rainbow Experiment is supposed to show how different types of salt can produce different variants of flame; however, when his teacher introduced something flammable into a bowl of nitrate, things went quickly wrong and Yanes - sat just a couple of feet away - was engulfed in a fireball.
Now, in his first interview since the incident and ensuing court case, Yanes said: "I remember these flashes of blue and orange just flying toward my face.
"I remember feeling this burning sensation everywhere around my head," he continued, adding. "I was yelling out 'help, help, somebody help me, please'."
In his first interview since the accident, Yanes spoke to Inside Edition about the ordeal.
The student was ultimately kept in a hospital for five months and, as the extent of his injuries became clear, Yanes and his parents took both the teacher and the New York Department of Education to court.
While in court, their lawyer Ben Rubinowitz said that the class room possessed none of the safety requirements it should have had such as overhead showers and safety blankets.
He also played a demonstration of the experiment in which the flames reached nearly 10 feet. It was these twin lines of attack that helped lead to a successful case, seeing Yanes win some $60 million in damages.
That case was concluded in July of this year and now Yanes has spoken out. "I kinda looked like something out of a horror movie," he said of his appearance in the immediate aftermath.
His lawyer Rubinowitz, meanwhile, also spoke to Inside Edition and said that for him the case was about raising awareness of safety in the classroom.
"If the teacher is going to undertake a demonstration like this, you have got to take precautions, you have got to take safety measures," he said.
The teacher responsible for the experiment still works for the Department of Education but no longer works in a classroom role.
Featured Image Credit: Inside Edition