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Monday, June 27, 2022
METRO  |  CRIME

GFR clears UF chemistry building of potentially explosive material

Generic Crime
Generic Crime

The Chemistry Lab Building was cleared for a chemical leak after a student discovered an open container with a potentially explosive liquid Saturday afternoon, officials said.

Steven Locicero, a UF chemistry graduate student, was working in a lab Saturday afternoon when he saw a damaged container of trichlorosilane, a chemical that could explode if exposed to water. He said he was concerned the exposed chemical could be a danger and reported the chemical at about 5:20 p.m.

“I just wanted to be sure it was safe,” the 28-year-old said.

University Police shut down Buckman Drive for more than an hour until 6:45 p.m. and blocked off foot traffic near the building.

Lt. Kristy Sasser said UPD assisted Gainesville Fire Rescue and evacuated the lab building.

GFR District Chief Joseph Hillhouse said Locicero placed the container in an over-pack container, which would block any leaks, before he evacuated the building.

“(The chemical) doesn’t play well with others, and we have to be safe about this,” Hillhouse said.

The hazardous materials team went into the building and used air monitoring devices to see if the chemical was airborne but did not detect anything, Hillhouse said. He said the container could have erupted at any time, and the chemical may have already dissipated.

The lab where the chemical is found is used to make solid materials, Locicero said.

Hillhouse said the chemical no longer presents a hazard.

Contact Meryl Kornfield at mkornfield@alligator.org and follow her on Twitter at @MerylKornfield

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