Chemistry lab explosion injures 10 Saint Martin’s University students

September 21, 2005
2:20 pm

Lacey, Wash. - At about 1 p.m. today, an explosion occurred in a first floor Saint Martin’s University organic chemistry lab. Ten students were injured, five of whom were transported to Olympia’s St. Peter Hospital for treatment of lacerations. None of the injuries are life-threatening, according to Olympia Fire Dept. Captain Kate McDonald. The other five were taken for evaluation. All parents of injured students have been notified.

The explosion occurred during a demonstration comparing evaporation of gas in a combustion reaction. A large glass bottle, apparently filled with ethanol, exploded when it was lit, shattering the bottle.

Lacey Police Department and Lacey Fire Department 3, with Olympia Fire Department giving back-up, responded to the event. About 34 students were in the class, along with the professor and a laboratory assistant.

Classes have been closed for the remainder of the day on the main campus in Lacey while the Old Main building is being evaluated. Classes at the extension campuses at Fort Lewis and McChord Air Force Base will remain open.

Please see the university’s website, www.stmartin.edu, for updates. We will be adding more information as it is available. Families of Saint Martin’s students are asked to call (360) 438-4403.

Deanna Partlow
Media relations coordinator
360-438-4541; dpartlow@stmartin.edu