Chemical spill causes Shepherd laboratories evacuation

No one was seriously injured in the accident.

by James Nord

An acid spill in the University of Minnesota Shepherd laboratories on Union Street SE caused emergency responders to close a floor of the building last night. Approximately two liters of hydrochloric acid were spilled in the hallway near one of the labs on the fourth floor of the building, said Dawn Errede, a University Environmental Health and Safety public health specialist. Four people involved in the spill, including two who were in the lab, were brought by an ambulance to a University hospital as a precaution, according to a spokesman for the Minneapolis fire department. However, they did not appear to be injured. âÄúThis is kind of a medium to small event on the scale of spills around the University,âÄù Errede said. âÄúI mean, its research. Stuff happens.âÄù A 911 call reporting a smell alerted emergency responders to the situation. About a dozen fire, police and emergency vehicles responded and lined Union Street. The acid was of unknown strength. Firefighters deposited soda ash on the chemical to neutralize it, and closed the floor. âÄúItâÄôs a little more serious because it was out in the hallway and then we have less control of where the chemical vapors go,âÄù Errede said, âÄúbut itâÄôs confined to the floor, itâÄôs something you can neutralize, and the firefighters have neutralized it.âÄù