Date: Wed, 21 Oct 2009 19:37:02 -0400
Reply-To: List Moderator <ecgrants**At_Symbol_Here**UVM.EDU>
Sender: DCHAS-L Discussion List <DCHAS-L**At_Symbol_Here**LIST.UVM.EDU>
From: List Moderator <ecgrants**At_Symbol_Here**UVM.EDU>
Subject: Lab Incident: Lab explosion in Montana es/state.txt
State building evacuated after small lab explosion

(Created: Wednesday, October 21, 2009 11:52 AM MDT) 


A small explosion in a state environmental lab Tuesday forced the temporary evacuation of a building that houses the Department of Public Health and Human Services, and has prompted the agency to review its procedures. Officials said the explosion in an "oven type" device at about 9:45 a.m. prompted an evacuation for about an hour. One worker was taken to the hospital and treated for minor injuries after the event, which took place on the second floor of the Cogswell Building. The worker was tossed against a wall by the explosion, officials said. The Helena Fire Department was investigating the incident, trying to determine a cause. Officials said no chemicals were ever released from the lab, and the explosion did not threaten any other workers. DPHHS said its laboratory testing procedures will be reviewed. "At this point, our number one concern is for the safety of our employees," DPHHS director Anna Whiting Sorrell said. "We're going to work very hard to ensure something like this doesn't happen again." The explosion occurred when an employee was undertaking a routine water quality test using samples mixed with methanol. Glass containers with the samples were placed in the drying oven that then exploded. The employee was following prescribed methods, which will now be reviewed. Damage was estimated at about $2,000.

=== news/local/65082087.html

October 21, 2009


By KFBB News Team
Story Published: Oct 20, 2009 at 5:21 PM MDT
Story Updated: Oct 20, 2009 at 7:05 PM MDT

For workers at Helena=92s Cogswell Building, which houses the Department of Public Health and Human Services, a typical Tuesday morning was interrupted in an unexpected way.

Dee DeYong, who works in the building, says it was =93a normal day working at our computers, and someone came in and said that the fire department was here for an explosion evacuation.=94

Kevin Kelly, Battalion Chief for the Helena Fire Department, explains, =93At approximately 9:45 this morning we received a call of a minor explosion at the Cogswell Building. We responded and sent a crew inside. There was a small fire involved. They put it out with an extinguisher prior to our arrival They were doing some processes in the laboratory in one of the ovens.=94
The explosion injured one woman after she was tossed against a wall. She was taken to St. Peter=92s Hospital for treatment of minor injuries.

Surrounding roads were temporarily blocked off, and the entire building was evacuated as a precaution.

De Yong says, =93I assumed that it was a drill. I didn=92t know that it was actually an explosion that had happened in the lab.=94

Kelly says, =93We evacuated the building. We let everybody back in about 10:30, just purely precautionary. Our primary concern was fire and chemical release.=94

Officials say no chemicals were ever released from the lab.

Kelly explains, =93The crew that we sent in are part of our hazardous materials team, so they have the experience and the monitoring and that=92s how they determined it was clear. Our fire marshall and deputy fire marshall are doing an investigation. The state=92s doing an investigation.=94

The investigation determined that the explosion was caused by a flammable liquid, called methyl alcohol, that was being used to process algae samples within the confines of a laboratory-type oven. 

Previous post   |  Top of Page   |   Next post

The content of this page reflects the personal opinion(s) of the author(s) only, not the American Chemical Society, ILPI, Safety Emporium, or any other party. Use of any information on this page is at the reader's own risk. Unauthorized reproduction of these materials is prohibited. Send questions/comments about the archive to
The maintenance and hosting of the DCHAS-L archive is provided through the generous support of Safety Emporium.