January 24, 2018 6:42 pm
Updated: January 24, 2018 8:25 pm

Nitric acid explosion prompts evacuation of University of Alberta building

Classes at the University of Alberta's Electrical and Computer Engineering Research Facility were briefly interrupted as the building was evacuated after a nitric acid explosion on Wednesday afternoon.

Eric Beck/ Global News
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Classes at the University of Alberta’s Electrical and Computer Engineering Research Facility were briefly interrupted as the building was evacuated after a nitric acid explosion on Wednesday afternoon.

Firefighters responded to alarms going off at the building at about 1:40 p.m., a spokesperson for Edmonton Fire Rescue Services said. Once they arrived, the building was already evacuated and a Hazmat crew was called in once firefighters realized a nitric acid explosion had occurred.

Three people were in the room when the blast occurred but they were all wearing protective equipment and nobody was injured.

Crews measuring chemicals in the air said it appeared the building’s ventilation system was working well. At 3:30 p.m., the university tweeted that Hazmat crews had cleared the scene and that the building had been deemed safe, meaning staff and students could return.

About 200 people were impacted by the evacuation. No other buildings were evacuated.

The school said classes and labs resumed later Wednesday afternoon and students and staff were back in both buildings.

“The root cause of the explosion is still being investigated by U of A Environment, Health and Safety,” the university said in a statement.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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