February 1, 2006

One Injured in Lab Explosion

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At approximately 9:12 a.m. yesterday morning, a small explosion occurred during a class in Baker Laboratory. One undergraduate student was injured.

The Ithaca Fire Department responded to the scene at 9:18, with three engines, one ladder truck and a chief’s vehicle, according to a fire department press release.

The Cornell Police Department, Bangs Ambulance and Cornell Environmental Health and Safety also responded to the call.

The explosion occurred during an experiment in an organic chemistry class in room 301. The explosion was contained and there was no damage to the room. The building was closed for one hour.

The injured student was treated at the scene and then transported to Cayuga Medical Center.

The student suffered neck, lip and mouth lacerations, but was released later in the day. According to the fire department release, the injuries were caused by shrapnel from the explosion.

“The student was doing a lab process heating alcohol,” said Lt. Rob Covert ’89. However, Covert said, the direct cause of the explosion was still under investigation by Environmental Health and Safety.

Firefighters determined that the chemical in use was Butyl Alcohol that was being distilled as part of a lab process.

Archived article by Sun Staff