At 10:40 Thursday morning Mother Teresa High School in Ottawa began to shake.

Police say a 55-gallon drum of peppermint oil exploded in an auto-shop class where students were building barbecues.

The blast put one person, students have identified as Eric Leighton, in critical condition.


Leighton, 18, was originally reported dead by paramedics who say he showed no vital signs, but hospital staff was able to revive him.

Cst. Marc Soucy told reporters "he is in critical condition and still alive."

Those following the news are calling it "a miracle" and say "it's the best news we could have asked for."

In total six people were injured.

A 33-year-old teacher, four students paramedics now say have minor injuries, and Leighton who is in hospital.

"Last time I saw him was at prom on Friday," says a tearful Brenna Thompson. She says she's known Leighton since grade seven.


Shortly after the explosion students were evacuated to a nearby school.

Parents were left scrambling to get answers and find their children.

Some say all the information they had came from text messages from their children.

"It's very scary for a parent to not hear anything from the school whatsoever," says parent Leah Glover. "If my boys didn't have cell phones, I wouldn't know what was going on."

Gordon Butler of the Ottawa Catholic School Board commended staff for how they responded and thanked Longfield Davidson Heights High School for helping out.


Police say the Fire Marshal and arson squad have been called in to investigate.

There is no word on how this happened.

Parents can call the Ottawa Catholic School Board at 613-224-2222 ext. 2272 with any questions.