As the initial report didn't make much sense, here are the details - An organic chemistry professor at TU left this summer for an administrative position at another university, leaving behind round bottom flasks (still pots) with solvents and sodium metal. The new organic professor (one that appears to be so green that, to borrow an Australian phrase, 'he wouldn't burn if soaked in diesel') called TFD to get advice as to how to clean out the flasks. Whomever he was on the phone with at TFD heard 'fire and explosions', and r esponded by sending out the bomb squad and a fire crew. There was no fire o r explosion. This incident occurred on the first class day of the academic year. The bui lding was, of course evacuated. TU eliminated its one person EHS department a couple of years ago. Lessons leaned from this incident: 1) Ensure that professors clean up their labs before they start new jobs. 2) Ensure that there is someone in the department who knows how to handle w hatever is likely to be found. 3) Don't use the terms 'fire' or 'explosion' when on the phone to the fire department unless there actually is a fire or an explosion. BTW - As a grad student, I cleaned out a lot of active metal + flammable so lvent still flasks and found that the best way to decompose the metal is to add dichloromethane, 2-propanol and water. The dichloromethane blankets th e metal and prevents a fire from starting. The 2-propanol acts as a phase t ransfer catalyst and the water decomposes the metal. I never had a fire wit h this technique. John Nail Professor of Chemistry Oklahoma City University -----Original Message----- From: DCHAS-L Discussion List [mailto:DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU] On Behalf Of Li st Moderator Sent: Tuesday, August 25, 2009 6:21 AM To: DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU Subject: [DCHAS-L] Tulsa Lab Incident The correct headline would have been: Good News: Lab Non-Accident at TU... - Ralph http://krmg.com/localnews/2009/08/lab-accident-at-tu.html KRMG Local News Lab Accident at TU By Richard Dowdell **At_Symbol_Here** August 24, 2009 3:41 PM Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBacks (0) (Tulsa, Ok)--A flurry of excitement at the University of Tulsa Monday afternoon. The Tulsa Fire Department's Bill French explained what happened. At 2:30 the fire crews were dispatched to a reported explosion at Keplinger Hall at 441 South Gary at the University of Tulsa campus. Upon investigation fire fighters found that no explosion had actually occurred. There was no explosion, no gas release and no injuries. After speaking to the professor who found the chemicals, he explained that he found two chemicals in two separate beakers. The first chemical was tetrahydrofuran, a type of peroxide that will crystallize after a period of time and create a potentially volatile chemical reaction. The second chemical that was also found in the same size beaker was sodium metal which is flammable when it comes in contact with moisture. The fire department was called for precautionary reasons. The Tulsa Fire Department hazardous materials team and the Tulsa Police Department bomb squad were removing and disposing of the chemicals. The entire hall was evacuated.
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