Staff and students at Cambridge University had to be evacuated after a fire broke out in a chemical laboratory.
Fire crews were called to the Department of Chemistry in Lensfield Road shortly after 3pm yesterday (26th June), reports Cambridge News.
It is believed the blaze was caused when two chemicals in a solvent cupboard reacted. The fireproof cupboard door was quickly closed, helping to contain the flames before the smoke alarm went off.
The laboratory was then evacuated as firefighters from Cambridge, St Neots, Cottenham and Sawston all attended the site with a specialist chemical incident unit.
Students and staff were then moved well away from the building while crews in gas-tight suits tackled the blaze through an air vent from a ladder.
The fire was eventually brought under control after around two hours before crews swept the site for any remaining ‘hot spots’ which were still burning. They eventually left the incident at 6.10pm.
A researcher, who was in the building at time of the fire, told the news provider, was in the building at time of the fire, in which no one was hurt.
He told the news provider: “We didn’t know what was happening at first as nobody was really saying anything but gradually more and more fire engines and then the incident unit appeared so it got progressively scarier.
“We thought we might be out for just ten minutes but it ended up being almost two-and-a-half hours.
“Everyone left the building very calmly. I don’t usually work in this building, but from speaking to other people it was clear this was the most serious incident they have ever had.”
A member of staff, who wished to remain anonymous, told the newspaper that there had been a number of false alarms in the building recently and praised the quick response time of the fire services.
“But it became quite clear this was the real thing. Everyone kept calm and word got around that the rest of the building would be safe,” they added.
An environmental officer attended the university to ensure that any water running off from the site was contained.