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Five hospitalized after chemical device goes off at U.S. school

By Keith Coffman

DENVER (Reuters) - Four students and a teacher were hospitalized after a chemical mishap in a classroom at a K-12 charter school in Colorado on Tuesday, and authorities were investigating whether foul play was involved, a spokesman said.

Law enforcement officials and emergency crews responded to reports that "some kind of chemical device" went off in a classroom at SkyView Academy in the Denver suburb of Highlands Ranch, Douglas County Sheriff's Office spokesman Sergeant Ron Hanavan said.

The school, which has 1,200 students and staff members, was evacuated, and the four students and teacher were taken to a hospital with breathing problems, Hanavan said. No serious injuries were reported.

"Our investigators are trying to determine if this was an accident or a malicious event," the sergeant said, adding that authorities were not aware of any threat to the school.

The Douglas County School District said on its website that the school was closed "due to an isolated incident involving chemicals."

SkyView is a charter school, with both high school and grade school students. Hanavan would not say what age or grade level the students inside the classroom were.

"That's all part of our investigation and we still have a lot of interviews to conduct," he said.

(Editing by Cynthia Johnston)

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