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Chemical spill in SHU classroom triggers hazmat response

Updated 5:36 pm, Wednesday, March 26, 2014

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  • Firefighters responded to Sacred Heart University Wednesday afternoon after a small chemical spill. Photo: Contributed Photo / Fairfield Citizen
    Firefighters responded to Sacred Heart University Wednesday afternoon after a small chemical spill. Photo: Contributed Photo

 

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A lab at Sacred Heart University's science building had to be evacuated Wednesday afternoon after less than a gallon of sulfuric and nitric acid was spilled.

Firefighters dispatched to the Park Avenue campus reported the spill of toxic chemicals was confined to one classroom, and no one was injured.

Fire officials said the incident, reported shortly before 2:50 p.m. Wednesday, initially indicated there had been a minor chemical reaction from the mix of sulfuric and nitric acids that spilled in a classroom.

There were two students in the first-floor chemistry lab at the time who had been working with a small amount of nitric acid when a foaming reaction occurred, according to the fire report. They were not harmed by the reaction, firefighters said.

Fire officials dispatched the Fairfield hazmat team to the site and called in the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to assist, as well an ambulance from AMR.

Officials said they did not require a broader emergency response from the full Fairfield County hazmat squad.

By 4 p.m., hazmat team members were preparing to assess the building atmosphere for hazards. As a precaution, the first and second floor wing of the building were still evacuated.

Fire officials said they expected to have the spill remediated within a few hours.