Part of the Sherfield walkway, ACE extension and buildings around Chemical Engineering were closed yesterday while the Fire Brigade deal with an accident. This also affected NUS campaigning outside the JCR, as everything that side of Sherfield was shut restricting the flow of traffic past the JCR stalls. One security officer commented of the NUS penguins: "is that due to the chemicals?".
A statement from the Chem Eng Head of Department, Stephen Richardson, indicated that waste material was being disposed of in the courtyard of the Bone building. When it was poured into the waste container a gas, mainly hydrochloric acid, was released and the emergency services called. Buildings were evacuated as a precaution on the advise of the emergency services.
London Fire Brigade sent around 10 appliances to deal with the incident, including a command and control unit and a major incident unit parked on Prince Consort Road. It is believed the size of the response was a result of the LFB testing their full emergency response procedure, which proved to be a sensible decision.
Fire hydrants around Chemical Engineering were not working, as a water main had been shut off for building work. Hoses were run around the outside of Sherfield to a position over 100m away. Later on what appeared to be a brand new fire engine attempted to enter via Prince Consort Road and promptly got stuck, after nearly clipping the railings. It extracted itself a few minutes later and managed to take the corner from a better angle, entering the campus successfully.
There were no injuries due to the incident and the buildings reopened this morning, however some people were forced to leave their cars parked overnight.