How a production of ‘Beauty and the Beast’ led to the lockdown at Elsinore High in Wildomar
By Brian Rokos
It’s not a tale as old as time, but it’s a strange story, nonetheless.
The lockdown Thursday, Nov. 2, at Elsinore High that was attributed to dry ice — but triggered rumors of a gun on campus and a car chase — began innocently enough with a production of Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast.”
Dry ice was used during the play — people have used the substance to create fog for plays and Halloween parties, according to internet reports — and there was some left over, Mark Dennis, a spokesman for the Lake Elsinore Unified School District, said Friday
The extra dry ice was given to a science teacher for use during a leadership period, Dennis said.
Someone then put some of the dry ice in a sealed container that was left in a restroom, Dennis said. Dry ice, when it reverts to its gaseous state as carbon dioxide, creates pressure within containers. The container in the restroom ruptured, causing three students to suffer temporary ringing in their ears and prompting the lockdown as a precaution, Dennis said.
No other injuries were reported.
The Riverside County sheriff’s bomb squad was called in to handle the dry ice, which can have a burning effect on skin if not handled properly. A deputy was seen placing a water bottle into an evidence bag.
The incident happened near the end of the 2:30 p.m. dismissal. Students were let out, building-by-building, a process that was completed by 3:46 p.m.
School officials communicated to parents through SchoolMessenger, the school website and Facebook posts, Dennis said. School administrators are investigating the incident.
The campus is safe and operating normally, district officials and sheriff’s deputies said.
The Sheriff’s Department asks anyone with additional information on the incident to call dispatchers at 951-776-1099 or the Wildomar deputies at 951-245-3300.