West Haven Clears Campus Building After Hazardous Situation
March 11, 2009
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Dodds Hall was cleared for use on Monday by the West Haven Department of Health after liquid used in forensic science research was found on the floor of a fourth floor lab early Friday morning. No one was affected by the liquid and it was not released outside of the immediate area in which it was found.
According to Allingtown Deputy Chief Fire Marshal Christopher Reed, the liquid, which was properly stored in a glass container in a lab cabinet, was found on the floor by a member of the University’s custodial staff. Upon opening the lab door to do her daily cleaning, the custodian saw and smelled the liquid, contacted her supervisor who called Campus Police. The Allingtown Fire Department was called and arrived immediately. Campus Police Chief Henry Starkel notes this chain of events transpired in approximately five to seven minutes. The fire department and Campus Police closed the building and quickly checked all floors. One person was escorted from the building and was not affected by the incident.
The fire department’s hazmat team interviewed forensic science faculty regarding the types of liquids used in the lab. This information was turned over to the environmental remediation firm that DEP required the University bring in on Friday to do the clean up. DEP also required that an industrial hygienist conduct air quality samples. Samples were evaluated by the West Haven Department of Health and were approved resulting in the re-opening of the building and the lab. Cabinets that housed the liquid have been removed and will be replaced.
The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) continues to research if the glass container had some how cracked. Dr. Tim Palmbach, chair of the Department of Forensic Science, notes his department has strict protocols for storage of products used in the lab. He adds that exactly which product leaked and how is still under investigation. The University’s Department of Forensic Science and Safety Committee are both reviewing the incident. Later this week, Reed will meet with members of the DEP and those in his department who responded to the incident to determine next step recommendations for the University.
An email update will be sent to students, staff, and faculty when additional information is available.