Smith Hall reopens after reported chemical spill Friday

Smith Hall houses the University’s Department of Chemistry.

by Samantha Hendrickson

University of Minnesota students, staff and faculty were asked to evacuate Smith Hall for a brief period after a chemical spill on Friday.

A SAFE-U alert was sent at 3:53 p.m., alerting students to the spill and asking that anyone inside the building evacuate immediately and avoid the area. What chemical was spilled is currently unknown.

The spill was due to a chemical explosion involving a student, according to a University spokesperson. The student was inside the lab during the explosion, sustained “non-life threatening injuries” and is currently being treated at a hospital.

The building reopened approximately 20 minutes later, according to a second SAFE-U alert sent at 4:15 p.m. Students and staff were advised to avoid rooms 413 and 417. The rooms now remain closed for cleaning.

Smith Hall houses the University’s Department of Chemistry. The Minneapolis Fire Department, EMS personnel, University of Minnesota Police Department and the University’s Department of Environmental Health and Safety responded to the scene.

No classes are being conducted in person per the University’s Sunrise Plan, which transferred all classes to online-learning platforms following Thanksgiving break. 

This is a breaking news report. More information will be added as it becomes available.