Date Posted17/02/2015

Australian Catholic University campus evacuated after chemical spill in laboratory

HUNDREDS of students have been evacuated from the Australian Catholic University campus after a chemical spill in a laboratory this morning.

Roads around the university in Edward St, North Sydney, were closed as fire crews rushed to the scene.

The spill is understood to have involved a acid-based chemical of an explosive nature.

Superintendent Ian Krimmer from NSW Fire and Rescue said firefighters were in the process of assessing the nature of the spill.

“Someone noticed the leak and did the right thing,” Supt Krimmer said.

The entire campus has been evacuated and three fire crews are at the university with further experts on the way.

About 200 students had to leave the university and there were some classes in session at the time.

“Many university laboratories use this acid (picric acid), one of the technicians observed the container and he had some concerns about the seal,” Supt Krimmer said.

“To his credit he’s done the right thing and enacted their emergency procedures.

“This particular acid can become unstable and can be explosive in certain circumstances.”

He said the chemical was used for the development of proteins as an etching agent.

“That chemical has been placed in a safer container and has been removed from the campus for further disposal at another location,” he said.

The incident happened about 11am in a storage area.

“ACU has evacuated buildings located at its 40 Edward Street campus North Sydney due to a chemical spill,” a statement from the university said.

“Emergency services have taken control of the site and are in the process of removing hazardous material. They are assessing the situation and ACU will continue to provide updates.”

Nobody has been injured in the incident.

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