Chemistry explosion Brief

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A chemistry experiment gone wrong brought the fire department to the University of Calgary June 11 after an unwanted reaction resulted in a small explosion in a chemistry lab.

The resulting fire caused minimal damage to the laboratory, but four fire trucks were called in as a matter of procedure. A student in the lab was only five feet away from the explosion, but had her back turned and left uninjured.

"There was some broken glass in the room and a lot of smoke," said district fire chief Kevin Haines, adding that the fire was extinguished before the response team's arrival. "Apparently one of the other students grabbed a fire extinguisher and put out whatever fire remained in the room."

"Our wall just sort of bowed in as soon as we heard the smack," said Pavel Sedach, a graduate student working in the lab next door. "Some of the chemicals flew off of our shelves."

Sedach said the explosion was caused by a very standard experiment.

"They've done it before in that lab," said Sedach. "They don't know why it didn't work out, why it exploded."

Because the fire department was dealing with an unknown chemical a HAZMAT team was sent in to evaluate the safety of the area. After the incident was determined to be confined to the lab area the issue was turned over to campus staff.