Students Suffer Minor Injuries in Fireworks Explosion

Five people were hospitalized after a student lit fireworks in a trash can Friday at a Riverside County middle school.

Thirteen other people suffered minor injuries in the explosion at Ethan Chase Middle School in Menifee, according to the Riverside County Fire Department.

"There was just such a huge explosion and everyone was, like, freaking out," said student Victoria Morales.

Morales said the blast happened while students were eating lunch in the quad area.

"It was, like, green," she said. "Like, there was smoke."

Startled by the loud boom, some students started running to try and get to safety.

"The first thing we thought it was a gunshot and we were very scared so we ran to the blacktop and just standing there waiting for teachers," said student Joshua Zabala.

Students who were close to the explosion complained about their hearing.

"They were complaining about ringing in their ears, some of them had severe headaches," said student David Gonzalez.

Within seconds of the blast, teachers got all students to safe locations and went into lockdown mood. The sheriff's hazardous device team arrived and made sure there was no other danger, since it wasn't immediately known that it was a firework.

"We have one student identified as detonating the firework," said Trevor Painton, assistant superintendent for the school district.

School administrators say the boy also had other fireworks that had not been detonated. They were confiscated and now that student is in serious trouble.

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