Chemicals “Go Boom” at UCSB Science Lab

No One Injured in Small Explosion

Santa Barbara City and County fire departments responded to a small explosion in a research laboratory in the chemistry building on UCSB’s campus Saturday afternoon. No one was injured from the explosion, which was caused by a chemical reaction during research by a graduate student, according to Dave Vandenberg, the laboratory safety program manager in UCSB’s Environmental Health and Safety Department. There was not much to the fire, he said. “There was a fairly standard reaction in the fume hood and it just went boom.”

Though there was no fire, fumes or smoke from the chemical reaction set off the smoke detector, which automatically leads to a call to county fire. They responded, and a hazardous materials unit was brought in to clean-up the fume hood, a box with five closed sides and one open one, with a ventilation system designed to keep researchers from breathing dangerous chemicals and fumes.

The “relatively minor” incident, according to Vandenberg, is under investigation.

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