University lab evacuated after chemical spill

The Minneapolis Fire Department blocked off the street but said no one was in danger.

Kia Farhang

A third-floor lab in a University of Minnesota research building was evacuated Monday night after a formaldehyde spill.

The Minneapolis Fire Department  blocked off stretches of 23rd Avenue Southeast and Sixth Street Southeast for about half an hour while they contained the spill in the Cancer and Cardiovascular Research Building.

Andre Sewell, battalion chief for the fire district that includes the University, said between one and three milliliters of formaldehyde — about half a teaspoon  — had been spilled. He said no one was in danger.

Sewell said blocking off the building with fire trucks is standard procedure for
chemical spills.

Campus Connectors stopped on both sides of the buildings and let students off when they couldn’t pass through the wall of fire trucks.

Horticulture sophomore Becca Splichal, who had been at band practice in TCF Bank Stadium across the street from the research building, said she didn’t feel unsafe after hearing
about the spill.

“They looked like they were handling it pretty well,” she said. “I kind of wish they would have done a detour [for buses], just so that way we could
get home.”