WSU acid spill cancels classes; cleanup complete

Published: Monday, June 23, 2014 @ 10:36 AM
Updated: Monday, June 23, 2014 @ 4:47 PM

            WSU expects all buildings to be open Tuesday after acid spill
WSU expects all buildings to be open Tuesday after acid spill

UPDATE as of 2 p.m.
Employees and students affected by the building closures because of the acid spill Monday morning may re-enter their buildings to collect their belongings.

But the following buildings will remain closed, as a precaution, and will reopen Tuesday at 6:59 a.m.

  • Diggs Laboratory
  • Medical Sciences
  • Biological Sciences I & II
  • Dunbar Library
  • Library Annex
  • Allyn Hall
  • Millet Hall
  • Oelman Hall
  • Fawcett Hall
  • Brehm Laboratory

Employees from the affected buildings have been released to go home for the day. The cleanup is complete. All classes are canceled effective 1:30 p.m. The university remains open. Pre-college program campers can be picked up at 3 p.m. outside the Dunbar Library.

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Wright State University canceled all classes and activities for the remainder of the day after an acid spill on campus forced the evacuation of nine buildings.

Acetic acid, used to clean glass and laboratories, was spilled in the basement of Oelman Hall at 9:50 a.m. when a lab technician dropped a 2.5-liter bottle of the chemical, said Steve Farrell, director of environmental health and safety

Oelman, Fawcett Hall and Brehm Laboratory were evacuated first, and then Allyn, Millet, Biological Sciences I and II, Dunbar Library and the Library Annex. Hundreds of students and staff were also told to avoid the tunnels that connect the buildings.

All classes after 1:30 p.m. were canceled at the main campus.

The affected buildings are closed until further notice, according to the university's website. The spill was cleaned and the buildings and tunnels vented because of a lingering smell.

A police officer was taken to Soin Medical Center as a precaution.

"It can be very dangerous if it's a very high concentration, but we got everyone in time," Farrell said of the acid. "We don't feel there was any hazard to anyone."

Junior Seth Clouser said he was in his classics class on the second floor of Fawcett when an alarm went off and then a person came over the loud speaker and told them to evacuate. "I looked out the window and I could see there were cops cars and there was a fire truck," he said. "They said there was an emergency in your building."

He said he could smell an odor similar to Elmer's glue as he went down the stairs to exit the building. He said he was not nervous for his safety as the alarm went off and his class went outside.

"Thankfully, it's summer, so there aren't as many students here," he said.

Senior Susan Scott said she was in a history class 10:10 a.m. when she was told to move outside at least 300 feet away from the building. She said there was a light acid smell in the area.