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Cooking class explosion hurts 5 at Chicago school

CHICAGO (AP) - Officials say five students were burned, including one seriously, after an explosion and fire during a Chicago high school cooking class.

Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford says four students at Northside College Prep High School were taken to hospitals after gas ignited in a biology lab while students were heating hot chocolate. Langford says the gas caused "a flash" explosion.

A fifth student declined treatment.

Chicago Public School officials issued a statement saying the "small fire" occurred on a single-burner stove during "routine cooking instruction."

Sprinklers extinguished the fire that was reported around 10:30 a.m. The 1,000-student school was briefly evacuated.

Langford says the most seriously injured student received burns to the face, neck and arms.

A spokesman at Swedish Covenant Hospital said two patients there are stable.