Small explosion at U lab leaves grad student with serious burns

  • Article by: EMMA NELSON , Star Tribune
  • Updated: June 17, 2014 - 8:27 PM

Small blast caused serious burns but no structural damage to Smith Hall.

A small explosion Tuesday afternoon in a University of Minnesota science lab injured one person, according to a university spokesman.

Emergency vehicles rushed to Smith Hall, at 207 SE. Pleasant St., around 1 p.m. The injured person, a graduate student in the U’s College of Science and Engineering, was taken to Hennepin County Medical Center, university spokesman Jordan Osterman said. He said the student was admitted to surgery with what a Minneapolis Fire Department statement described as “serious burns.”

The incident was a “chemical compound” explosion, Osterman said.

It appeared to be contained to a single room on the building’s fourth floor.

“There was no fire. Things seem to be under control,” the university said in a statement.

According to the Fire Department, the explosion caused no structural damage to the building.

The building was evacuated, and firefighters stayed on the scene for about 45 minutes to check for hazards and seal the lab. Afterward, university police, Hennepin County sheriff’s deputies and a hazardous-materials response team took over.

The building was to reopen Tuesday night, Osterman said.

 

Staff writer Tim Harlow contributed to this report. Emma Nelson • 612-673-4509

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