April 15, 2007 in Nation/World

Boy badly burned by cleaner on slide

Associated Press The Spokesman-Review

MIDDLE RIVER, Md. – A 2-year-old boy was severely burned Saturday after he went down the slide at an elementary school playground. Someone had broken into the school, stolen several bottles of industrial-strength drain cleaner and splashed it all over the playground equipment, authorities said.

Peyton Duschl was scheduled for surgery this morning and likely will be hospitalized for several weeks, said Carol Duschl, the boy’s mother.

“I just don’t understand what would draw somebody to do something like that,” Duschl told WMAR-TV. “What kind of sick joke is that?”

Peyton suffered second- and third-degree burns, mostly on his legs, from the cleaner, which contains a strong concentration of sulfuric acid, said Division Chief Michael Robinson of the Baltimore County Fire Department. No one else was injured.

Duschl said her son’s grandmother was with him at the playground, and he began screaming in pain as soon as he went down his favorite slide.

After Peyton’s parents took him to Franklin Square Hospital Center, he was taken to the pediatric burn unit at Johns Hopkins Hospital. The first hospital’s emergency room had to be evacuated because they tracked some of the drain cleaner in with them, Robinson said.

Whoever is responsible also probably suffered burns, and could face charges of first-degree assault, burglary and destruction of property, said Sgt. Vickie Warehime, a county police spokeswoman.

Someone kicked in the door to a storage room at Victory Villa Elementary School sometime overnight, Warehime said. Investigators found that six bottles of drain cleaner had been opened. A hazardous materials team cleaned up the playground.

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