On the evening of Wednesday, Oct 25 a chemical spill occurred in the Science Wing (SC) of the main academic building at Sacred Heart University.
“We were doing a lab and we heard a really loud bang in the back room,” said Junior Nicole Piazza who was attending General Chemistry 1 lab in SC116. “One of the cabinets must have broken and all the chemical wastes fell and spilt all over the floor and were mixing together.”
Shortly after 8:00pm the Fairfield Regional dispatch center received a call for a chemical spill on campus. As a precaution the Fairfield CountyHazardous Incident Response Team was called to determine what chemicals had spilled and check for a chemical reaction, The Fairfield Fire Department said in a post on Facebook.
At 10:20 pm an emergency alert message was sent to the university community alerting students and faculty to the incident.
Gary MacNamara, Executive Director of Public Safety and Government Affairs said, “There was a small chemical spill in a chemistry lab at Sacred Heart University last Wednesday evening when shelving in a cabinet containing waste materials appeared to break.”
“Public Safety and Fairfield Fire initially responded. A hazmat team also arrived on scene. The building was evacuated, and there were no injuries. Once the building was cleared, a cleaning crew, hired by SHU, went inside to clean up the spill,” continued MacNamara.
Senior Teresa Andersen was leaving campus when she came across the scene of Fire and Police vehicles in front of the Edgerton Center for the Performing Arts.
“It was a surreal experience to see all the firetrucks and ambulances at our school,” said Andersen. “While I was walking by I noticed some of the men wearing Hasmat suits which I had never seen before. It looked like something out of a movie. The smell was also very strong coming from the building as we were walking by.”
Junior Carly Codignotto was forced to leave her backpack in the SC following an event held by Alpha Delta Pi that was evacuated from the building.
“My sorority was cleaning up from our philanthropy event during the evacuation and was forced to leave all of our stuff and told
we could come back at 1:00am to gather our things,” said Codignotto. “At around 11:00 pm we got a call from a friend on campus saying a lot of our personal belongings were sitting outside, but after racing to
campus they had already brought them back in. After standing outside for a while, the officers finally let three of us in to bring out everyone’s stuff.”
“Out of an abundance of caution, the SC wing will be closed tomorrow,” announced a second emergency alert message to the university community at 10:52 pm Wednesday evening. Classes in the Science Wing resumed at 3:30pm Thursday afternoon.
The Fairfield Fire Department reported that there were no exposures or injuries to students or staff, and left the scene at 11:45pm.
Sacred Heart University President Dr. John Petillo said, “The University is grateful to all the first responder units that came to the scene of the spill. We are thankful to have such skilled and responsive community partners.”