Lab Tech in Burn Unit Following MU Explosion
Officials said three of the other victims of the explosion were treated at the hospital for minor injuries and were released in the late afternoon. Officials have no information on the fourth and final victim. Officials verify that aside from the burned lab tech, the other victims are graduate students.
Columbia fire investigators say they believe the explosion that damaged the lab occured in the gas collection hood around a 2000 p.s.i hydrogen cylinder, and not in the cylinder itself. The hydrogen was used as part of an experiment with bacteria in the building, but MU officials report the bacteria is not harmful. The explosion took place in the gas mixing hood, the place where the experiment was being staged. The explosion happened in Schweitzer Hall around 2:20 pm, injuring four people.
The fire suppression system on the third floor of the building where the explosion took place did activate and help firefighters put out what they called a small fire. The explosion blew out at least 8 windows on the outside of the building. Witnesses say that the ceiling inside the damaged room collapsed and that debris covers the area. Firefighter say there is no structural damage to the building though.
The southbound side of College Avenue was closed to traffic for fire response during the incident. Drivers were routed on University Avenue to avoid the scene. Police later reopend the road to traffic.