Chemical spill closes Integrated Science Building

Photos courtesy of Tim Brown
Photos courtesy of Tim Brown

By Kirrily Schwarz

Students were evacuated from the Conoco Phillips Integrated Science Building Wednesday afternoon as a result of a chemical spill.

“The chemical was spilled into a sink and reacted with water to make some kind of gas,” said University Police Department Deputy Chief Brad Munn. “We were concerned for the safety of students, so we evacuated the building.”

A facility representative from the science lab confirmed that the chemical was calcium carbide, which is potentially dangerous if inhaled.

No students or staff were injured in the incident.

“This was an accidental spill, and no one was injured and no one was exposed to the chemical,” said Haz Mat One Captain Kevin Wallace.

According to Wallace, calcium carbide is not a common chemical, but small amounts of it can be found in science facilities and labs in a white powder form.

- Advertisement -

“One of the concerns is that when it hits water it turns into an acetylene gas, so the initial concern for all of the fire units was that there would be flammable gases,” he said.

“This chemical is also an explosive concern and a flash-fire risk.”

However, a ventilation hood is credited with helping keep the incident “very small.”

The HAZMAT team verified that all air samples read normally before allowing people back into the building.

The call came in to UPD at 3:16 p.m. and by 4:20 p.m. the building was reopened.

Classes are resuming at 5:30 p.m.