S.T.Olin Lab at Cornell back in use after fire

The S.T. Olin Chemistry Research Laboratory at Cornell University returned to use this morning after a second-floor fire in a research lab Thursday evening, July 8.

The fire began at approximately 10 p.m. and involved a quantity of flammable liquids. The building was evacuated and the fire was extinguished by the Ithaca Fire Department.

Thomas J. McGiff of Cornell's Environmental Health and Safety office, said, "An assessment indicated only a minor amount of contamination from chemical residues, and the cleanup has been completed. The building has been returned to use, with the exception of the laboratory where the fire broke out."

He noted that the Olin Research Lab's ventilation system is designed specifically for chemical labs and was able to contain the air contaminants which were then expelled from the building by the roof exhaust system.

"Monitoring equipment found no detectable air contamination in the building after the fire was extinguished," McGiff said. "We are confident there was no chemical exposure to residues for people in the building or in nearby buildings."

One compound involved in the fire gave off highly odorous fumes, he said, that were detectable even at the very low concentrations involved.

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