May 7 15:30:46 2004 
From: University Communications 
To: ABCD distribution

Subject: Accident in Chemistry and Biochemistry Building

Faculty member injured in chemistry accident 

A New Mexico State University faculty member was injured by glass shards when a glass instrument exploded while chemicals were being combined as part of an organic chemical synthesis Friday in the NMSU Chemistry and Biochemistry Building. The incident occurred shortly after noon in a laboratory on the second floor of the building. 

The only other person present, an undergraduate student who was assisting the faculty member with his research, was not injured. The faculty member, assistant professor of chemistry Stephen Starnes, was taken to Mountain View Regional Medical Center for treatment. The two were following the standard published protocol for the chemical procedure, said Katrina Doolittle, director of the university's Environmental Health and Safety Office. 

The cause of the explosion will be investigated, she said. The NMSU Fire Department evacuated the building and called for assistance from the Las Cruces Fire Department and the city's hazardous materials team as a precaution. The building was reopened for use about 2:45 p.m., except for the room where the accident occurred.