Although there was a safety shower in the lab, Sangji did not use it. Instead, Wei=ADfeng Chen, a postdoctoral researcher in Harran's group who was cleaning up one of the lab's benches, wrapped a lab coat around Sangji to try to put out the fire. "She was screaming and was moving around and I was attempting to wrap her tightly," Chen told Cal/OSHA Investigator Ramon Porras. Chen abandoned the lab coat when it started burning. He then started pouring water on Sangji from a nearby sink, while she sat on the floor.
Hui Ding, a postdoctoral researcher in an adjacent lab, heard Sangji screaming. He went into the lab and saw Chen trying to put out the fire. Ding also saw that "the tip of the reagent bottle was positioned sideways and was also on fire," he told Porras. Ding returned to his lab and called 911, then checked on Chen and Sangji again before going to get Harran from his office on the floor above.
When Ding returned to the lab with Harran, Harran saw that Sangji's hands, torso, and neck were burned. "Her clothing from the waist up was largely burned off and large blisters were forming on her abdomen and hands=97the skin seemed to be separating from her hands," he told Porras in an e-mail. Sangji was conscious, asking for more water, where emergency responders were, and for someone to call her roommates. When Harran heard sirens, he went down to the road to tell the emergency personnel where they needed to go.
UCLA police dispatch recorded the 911 call at 2:54 PM as an "unknown type chemical fire." Emergency crews were dispatched at 2:57 PM, and Christopher Lutton, a UCLA deputy fire marshal; a fire engine; and emergency medical personnel arrived at the building at 3:01 PM. Lutton donned full protective gear and went up to the lab to assess the situation, with dispatch recording at 3:06 PM that the fire was out upon arrival. Lutton cleared the other emergency responders to go up to the lab. Once medical personnel arrived, Sangji was put on a rolling chair and moved under the safety shower for decontamination. She was then transported to UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center. From there she was transferred to Grossman Burn Center, in Sherman Oaks, Calif., where she died on Jan. 16.
That is what was reported after it happened. She was taken to a sink and a coworker doused her with water from there. The safety shower was used by emergency responders when they arrived, mostly for decontamination purposes.
It appears in the recent coverage of this event that the report by California OSHA did not address whether the lab safety shower was used. I understood that a post-doc just poured water from a bucket on her instead of taking her to the safety shower, Was that in fact true? Of course if she was on flames that may have been difficult to do.
Ujjvala (Vaiju) Bagal
Specialist, Methods Development
Phone: 01-912-964-9050 ext.53236
110 EMD Blvd
Savannah, GA 31407
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