Purdue's Mechanical Engineering building
STAFF REPORT November 3, 2009
Purdue University's Mechanical Engineering Building was evacuated this
afternoon due to a small fire that was caused by a chemical reaction.
Purdue University firefighters extinguished the fire, which was in a
five-gallon container that was partially filled with hydrogen peroxide,
water and sulfuric acid.
The building was evacuated for about 55 minutes while the container was
Fire Chief Kevin Ply said lab personnel in Room 61 on the building's
bottom level noticed this morning that the container was leaking.
At about 9 a.m. officials from Radiological and Environmental
Management (REM) were called to evaluate the problem. They shifted the
chemicals into a drum and removed a saturated fiberboard shelf that the
chemical container was resting upon.
At about 12:30 p.m., they activated the fire alarm when shelf and
debris began smoking inside the drum.
"Contents from the container leaked onto cardboard boxes and a
fiberboard shelf, and when a highly oxidizing agent makes contact with
an organic material, they begin to react," Ply said. "We had more smoke
than anything, but we did have a small fire inside the container."
There were no injuries, and damage was limited to the shelf the
container was sitting on and a section of flooring.
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