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Decades old bottle of Picric acid leads to evacuation at Waterville Jr Sr High

By HILARY LANE

WATERVILLE, N.Y. (WKTV) - Students and staff members at Waterville Junior and Senior High School were evacuated a little after Noon on Thursday the New York State Police Bomb Disposal Unit out of Albany was called in to assess and dispose of some potentially hazardous chemicals.

"We are concerned about one of the chemicals that is possibly dangerous and could call an explosion," says Gary Lonczak, superintendent of schools.

The main issue is a bottle of picric acid which is over 25 years old.

When in liquid form, the chemical is safe to use. However, the compound has solidified over the years, which means it could be potentially explosive if not removed properly.

"We acted as quickly as we could and we followed protocol and we got good advice from the State Police and hazmat unit," says Lonczak.

Administrators were never advised to evacuate students, but they say they did so as a precautionary measure.

Lonczak says he will send an informational letter to parents regarding the incident and on Friday, the school day will resume as usual.

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