Life Science Labs evacuated after chemical explosion

By Morgan Givens
Staff writer

Multiple firefighters and ambulance crews reported to the University of West Florida at approximately 12:15 p.m. Thursday after reports of a small chemical explosion in one of the chemistry labs in the Life Sciences Laboratory. Students were evacuated and classes in Building 58 were closed until 4:30 p.m. There were no injuries.

According to university officials, who notified students at the time of the incident along with updates as the day went on, the explosion was caused by two chemicals mixing, causing the fire.

UWF spokeswoman Megan Gonzalez praised the students and faculty who responded to the incident, as well as the cooperation of bystanders to stay away from the scene.

Firefighters and ambulances stayed on the scene, and personnel in hazmat suits were seen entering and exiting the building in the aftermath of the incident. Many students and faculty praised the university for their quick and efficient response.

Emergency personnel in hazmat suits rinse off laboratory equipment after a chemical explosion in Building 58. (Photo by Morgan Givens)

“The science department and the university reacted in a very professional and clean manner,” a student who had classes in the Life Sciences Lab, and wishes to remain anonymous, said.

At approximately 3:18 p.m., the all-clear was announced electronically. During the incident, classes went on in every other department, and classes in Building 58 resumed at 4:30 p.m. and are set to occur as usual on Friday.

There’s not yet an estimated cost of damages done after the fire.

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