Fire Crews Called to UCSD for Hazmat Incident

By R. Stickney, Lauren Steussy and Rory Devine
|  Friday, Nov 9, 2012  |  Updated 12:56 PM PDT
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Fire Crews Called to UCSD for Hazmat Incident

Students and staff were evacuated at Urey Hall as a hazmat team investigated.

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Emergency crews were called to a San Diego-area university for a hazmat emergency that a researcher reported to officials Thursday night.

San Diego Fire and Rescue crews responded to the call from UCSD’s Revelle College around 10:45 a.m. Friday.They called in the bomb squad to set off a potentially unstable container left in one of the building's labs, according to a UCSD official.

Students and staff at the campus' Urey Hall were evacuated as the crews investigated. The 8-floor laboratory building is predominantly used for research, according to the school's website.

A physics researcher told NBC 7 that some of the chemicals in a light-scattering experiment dried out Thursday night. She said she reported it to the UCSD Environmental Health and Safety Department, which responded to the lab at 7 a.m. Friday.

A UCSD official added that containers of this specific material, called decalin, can become unstable when it crystalizes. In this case, the material evaporated and the researcher attempted to handle the container.

Authorities safely moved the container outside the building out of concern that the container would shatter and injure someone. A bomb squad destroyed the container with a blasting cap.

The building has been reoccupied without incident, according University Communications and Public Affairs.

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