At 7:30 a.m. this morning, Standley Lake High in Westminster will open, but only for those students who left something behind or would like to speak to a counselor about the horrific events that closed the school yesterday. That's when a troubled sixteen-year-old reportedly drank a water bottle full of bleach and set himself on fire. The teen, who's been identified by media organizations and numerous posters on social media as Vince Nett, remains in critical condition at an area hospital. Photos, videos and details about this sad, shocking story below.
At 7:12 a.m. yesterday, according to the Westminster Police Department, officers received reports about a fire inside the high school, located on the 10400 block of Holland Street.
Both police and fire staffers rushed to the scene, where they learned that a teenage boy, Nett, had stepped into the cafeteria and set himself on fire. The burns he suffered were severe, with 7News estimating that they cover 80 percent of his body.
The fire was put out by a custodian, using a fire extinguisher. A woman who works at the school suffered a minor injury when breaking the glass case that held the extinguisher. Otherwise, the only person hurt was Nett, who police believe was trying to commit suicide and didn't intend to harm anyone else.
An estimated sixty students were in the cafeteria at the time.
A friend of Nett's who spoke with 9News says she only started noticing worrisome behavior within the past week. But his Facebook page features a number of graphics that are positively heartrending when viewed in retrospect.
Here's one that was posted this past September....
...and here's another from that same month: Still, it was a Facebook message only shared with his friends that was especially alarming. Continue for more about the suicide attempt at Standley Lake High School yesterday, including additional photos and videos. The message, excerpted by 9News, states that "This is not someone's fault. I had this planned for years."
The note also mentions that friends tried to talk him out of such a desperate act, but to no avail. About his motives, he added, "If anyone says that they know why I did this...nobody knows and nobody will."
School at Standley Lake was immediately canceled for yesterday and today, and in the hours afterward, graphics like this one began to pop up on the pages of assorted students:
We add our hope for the teen to recover fully and completely, and send out our best thoughts to his family, friends and loved ones.
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Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.
More from our News archive circa December 2013: "Suicide by freezing prevented by CU student's roommate, rescue crew at Chautauqua."