Chemical Incident Reports Center
CIRC Results
  Incident Title
Hydrogen Buildup in University Lab Leads to Small Explosion, Fire but No Injuries   
Location Date of Incident
Newark, NJ, United States 9/18/2000- 6:00 PM
CSB Incident Number NRC Report Number Board Ref. Number
2000-4961 None Reported None Reported
Current Status Date of Report Update
No CSB Action 9/20/2000 - 11:44 AM
Incident Types Location Types
- Explosion
- Fire
Fixed Facility
Evacuations Injuries Fatalities
Yes - Number Unknown None None
Chemicals Involved
- Hydrogen
Description or Latest Development
Information Added: Wednesday, September 20, 2000 - 11:43 AM
Boyden Hall at Rutger's University Newark campus was evacuated after an explosion and fire in a laboratory in the classroom building.

No one was reported injured following the incident.

The university said initial reports that the blast was caused by a student science experiment gone awry were incorrect, noting that the lab was not in use at the time.

An investigation by Newark and Rutgers officials said a buildup of hydrogen in an inert atmosphere glove box caused the blast.  The box is used in biology experiments that require a controlled gas environment, such as those that work with certain types of bacteria.

The equipment had not been used since July, and not bacteria were present when the explosion occurred, the university said.

A determination of what caused the gas leak could take several days.

The explosion destroyed the glove box, blew out several windows, caused ceiling tiles to fall, and broke some glassware stored on shelves.

Sources ( * indicates the original source) Source Details
  • Media - Associated Press *
09/19/2000 1547EDT 
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