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College contaminated by chemical spill, one student transported

Emergency vehicles and Hazmat teams arrive at the Library and Eickhoff Hall. (Photo courtesy of Summer Nest)

A female College student was exposed to dangerous chemicals on Friday, April 11, at about 1:10 p.m. while working in a Science Complex research lab. As a result of the accompanying chemical spill, the buildings were evacuated while emergency services responded.

According to the College’s Emergency Alert system, the student had come into contact with benzyl bromide, a colorless liquid that can cause irritation of the eyes, skin and mucus membranes. It has also been used militantly in weapons such as tear gas.

The student immediately rushed from the Science Complex to the Library and then into Eickhoff Hall where Health Services is located. Consequently, all three areas were quarantined by Campus Police and the environmental health and safety department, according to the media alert.

On arrival, the student told health officials of a strong odor and a “strong tingling feeling in her arm,” according to David Muha, vice president of Communication, Marketing and Brand Management.

A small brigade of police units, ambulances, helicopters and fire engines — courtesy of the Ewing Fire Department — were quick to the scene. All students inside the Science Complex evacuated the building at approximately the same time as the spill was reported and were told to remain around the fountain until further cleanup procedures had taken place.

According to sophomore biology major Lauren McKay, firemen alerted students that they might be quarantined outside from anywhere between 30 minutes and two to four hours.

Several students also reported to have received pictures from the female student of her condition, confirming their suspicions.

At 1:29 p.m., Hazmat teams successfully cleared the Library and Eickhoff Hall of any contamination, according to the media alert. Twenty minutes later, the Science Complex was declared safe as well, with students permitted to re-enter not long after.

Though her current condition remains unclear, the female student was transported to Capital Health Regional Medical Center in Trenton, Muha said.



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