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CAS Metcalf Center evacuated after chemical spill

The BU Environmental Health and Safety Office and the Boston Fire Department responded to a chemical spill at the Metcalf Center for Science and Engineering building Thursday evening. PHOTO BY CHLOE GRINBERG/ DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

By Shannon Larson and Till Kaeslin

A chemical spill occurred on the fifth floor of a laboratory located at the College of Arts and Sciences’ Metcalf Center for Science and Engineering on Thursday evening, Boston University spokesperson Colin Riley said.

The BU Environmental Health and Safety Office, along with the Boston Fire Department Hazardous Materials Unit, responded to the incident, Riley said.

The building was evacuated once the alarm was sounded, Riley said. Responding units inspected the scene to identify the substance, and will follow protocol before reopening the Center.

“We’re responding to a [chemical] spill, so they’re checking to see what the substance is, and they’ll identify it, check the air quality, clean it up and open the building again, once that’s taken care of,” Riley said. “This always entail a very large emergency response, only because of the building and the fact that it’s a school.”

Riley said the chemical was a solvent, similar to nail polish remover, that had been used in an experiment and had been cleaned up within an hour.

“It was just a spill of a solvent, they come in four-liter bottles and the chemical spilled,” Riley said. “They [The BFD Hazmat Unit] put material down that absorbs it and then they disposed of it properly.”

No one was harmed from the spill, Riley said.

Students and faculty were barred from entering the building as responding units assessed the spill, Riley said. Similar incidents have occurred in the past, although not on a regular basis, he added.

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