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News Release: Engineering Center reopened after chemical spill

University of Colorado Boulder Police Department


RELEASED: March 20, 2012

SUBJECT: Chemical spill in Engineering Center

CONTACT:    Ryan Huff, Communications Manager, Police Department
                        303-492-7581 /

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At 11:04 a.m. today, University of Colorado students accidentally spilled a chemical in the Engineering Center’s Chemical Wing. A student dropped a 100-milliliter glass bottle containing acryloyl chloride, a chemical substance that acts like hydrochloric acid when exposed to the air. The students suffered from irritations to their eyes and immediately activated a fire alarm.

At 11:34 a.m., emergency responders decided to evacuate the Engineering Center. Agencies that responded to the scene were: the University of Colorado Police Department, CU Environmental Health & Safety Department, Boulder Police, Boulder Fire, American Medical Response and the Boulder County Hazardous Materials Team.

The Hazardous Materials Team entered the building around 2:30 p.m. and deemed there was no public health threat, except for inside the Chemical Wing. The building was reopened around 3 p.m. CU Environmental Health & Safety officials cleaned up the spill and reopened the Chemical Wing around 3:45 p.m.

The four students were evaluated by medical staff at the scene and determined to be OK. One female CU student, who was in the Engineering Center but not part of the original incident, reported she had a headache. She was taken to Boulder Community Hospital.

Throughout the incident, the CU Police Department worked with students and instructors with critical experiments inside to safely access the Engineering Center.