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Lab Safety

Fire damages labs at University of St. Andrews

No injuries reported, university working on site safety and cleanup

by Dalmeet Singh Chawla
February 11, 2019

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Credit: Bryony Hockin
A fire in a biomedical sciences building at the University of St. Andrews has damaged several laboratories.

A fire has damaged several laboratories in the biomedical sciences building at the University of St. Andrews. No staff or students were injured.

The fire was reported just before 5:00 p.m. on Feb. 10 and involved “suspected hazardous materials,” according to a statement by the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service. It was extinguished around 11:00 p.m. The cause of the fire has not been disclosed.

The university has not released a damage assessment, but some staff are suggesting the flames have done serious damage.

“There is significant damage to some labs and facilities, but it is too early to understand the extent of that damage, or speculate on the cause of the fire,” a Twitter account for the Biomedical Sciences Research Complex at the University of St. Andrews posted on Feb. 11.

“There has been very major damage to our labs,” tweeted the research group of Eli Zysman-Colman, who works on optoelectronic materials.

“We’ll just have to wait until they can get in and assess the damage, but at least three research labs are complete losses,” tweeted Monica Gill, a chemistry research fellow at the university. “I imagine there are more with smoke and water damage.”

Around 100 researchers worked in the affected building in labs conducting research in organic and synthetic chemistry, virology, and microbiology.

“Following the serious fire at the Biomedical Sciences building on Sunday evening site safety and the clean-up operation are our priority now,” the university said in a Feb. 10 statement. “The University has been inundated with offers of help and support from far and wide—many thanks to everyone that has reached out in this difficult time.”

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