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New Details in Chemical Explosion at University of Illinois

CHAMPAIGN -- Three students are sent to the hospital after a chemical explosion on the UI campus.

CHAMPAIGN -- A campus building was evacuated after a chemical blast. It happened Tuesday afternoon at the Chem Annex in the 600-block of South Mathews, in Urbana.

Emergency crews have cleared the scene, but the panic students felt inside the building is still in the air. 

"I was just working on my little experiment," freshman Kylie Farber said.

30 students were in the  lab working on an experiment when they heard a loud "pop."

"I turned around and there was an orange-brown sort of gas in the air."

Farber ran out with the rest of her classmates and firefighters evacuated the rest of the building.

"I didn't grab anything. All I wanted to do was get out of there."

Teaching lab specialist Jesse Miller had just left.

"I rushed back over here," Miller said.

He found crime scene tape surrounding the building and fire trucks blocking the road.

"What could it possibly be? I'm trying to call everybody because this kind of stuff doesn't happen."

In fact, it was the first time it ever has. Miller says a student accidentally mixed two chemicals together causing the plastic bottle to explode.

"It over-pressurized like a balloon popping."

The explosion knocked over bottles of ammonia and gas spread throughout the building. Several students were sprayed and taken to the hospital, but in the end no one was seriously hurt.

"We'll certainly analyze it to figure out what we can do to prevent it from ever happening again."

There's still acid on the floor but it should be cleared so that students will be working in the lab by Wednesday afternoon.
 

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