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2 Hurt When Plaster Falls From Classroom Ceiling

November 07, 2002|Kenneth Reich | Times Staff Writer

Seventh-grade students had just gathered Wednesday for life science class at Pasadena's Washington Middle School when a 15-foot section of ceiling plaster above them collapsed, slightly injuring two.

For most of the 26 students, the rain of light debris at 8 a.m. was simply frightening, but one girl suffered a wrist injury and one boy went into shock and had abrasions. They were treated at Huntington Memorial Hospital and released.

The school was built in 1923, and Pasadena Unified School District spokesman Erik A. Nasarenko said part of a recent bond issue is being spent on renovating the campus.

Teacher Jim Robinette said his students, mostly 12-year-olds, had undergone emergency training, so that "when it happened, faster than an earthquake," they knew to take cover and then evacuate.

"A little plaster came down, and then the whole thing came," he said. "We were out of the room very quickly."

The main school building was closed temporarily for inspection, as firefighters, police and structural engineers, including personnel from the state architect's office, arrived to try to determine the cause. The classroom's wood ceiling beams appeared uncompromised.

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