Acid spill cleared at Sacred Heart University

All classes to resume on schedule Thursday

Wednesday, March 26, 8:18 p.m.: Fairfield HazMat Technicians found a small amount of 65% nitric acid on the floor, counter and sink and two open containers at 4:47 p.m. Wednesday, when they entered a chemistry lab where a spill occurred at Sacred Heart University earlier that afternoon.

The entry team replaced the tops on the containers and wiped up the product using Chemsorb pads, placing all within the hood system, according to HazMat Operations Officer Asst. Chief Schuyler Sherwood. The Entry Team left the building at 5:19 p.m., and Connecticut Tank Removal was called by Sacred Heart officials to remove remaining product and absorbent materials from the lab.

“Unfortunately we needed to secure the first and second floors of the SC Wing while entry was being made to ensure that the atmosphere was not contaminated,” explained Sherwood.

Fire Units were to clear shortly after 6 p.m. pending arrival of the private cleanup contractor, according to Incident Commander Asst. Chief George Gomola.

“While classes can resume at this time, evening classes that start by 5 p.m. needed to be cancelled,” added Paul Healy, Emergency Management Executive Director at Sacred Heart University. “Classes will resume their normal schedule tomorrow.”

Wednesday, March 26, 4:57 p.m.: Classes in the SC wing at Sacred Heart University are canceled as of 5 p.m. as firefighters deal with a hazardous materials situation.

The first and second floors of the science wing were evacuated.

Wednesday, March 26, 4:35 p.m.: Firefighters and hazardous materials crews responded to Sacred Heart University Wednesday, March 26, after two acids spilled and combined in a chemistry lab.

Two students in the lab did not complain of injury, according to the Fairfield Fire Department.

The spill and “minor reaction” of sulfuric and nitric acids was reported at 2:48 p.m. in the Main Administration Building. Engine 3, Ladder 2 and Car 3 responded.

The spill resulted in a “foaming reaction,” according to the Fire Department.

Car 3, the on-duty assistant chief, called for Engine 4 with the HazMat trailer, Car 5 and the Fairfield Fire Department HazMat Team, along with American Medical Response and a representative from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Portection.

As of 4:20 p.m. HazMat Team members were preparing to enter the the area of the spill and assess the atmosphere.

The first and second floors of the SC wing have been evacuated.

Firefighters said they expect the situation to be cleared within the next several hours.

Updates will be posted as they become available.

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