Chemical Fire Closes Wesleyan Building

A firefighter was hurt and three students were evaluated

Classes are back in session in the Hall-Atwater building at Wesleyan University Tuesday after fire destroyed a science lab and damaged other areas of the building.

Monday morning, dry ice and freezers were being brought to a nearby building to try and preserve experiments that were going on at the school.

“We are mostly concerned about the freezers because the power is out. A lot of our research is kept in freezers while we are not there and it can die,” Meyesa Tetreault, a graduate student said. 

The fire, which started just after 11:30 p.m. Sunday, appears to have started when a student who was performing an experiment sparked a chemical reaction. Investigators had difficulty finding the cause of the fire because more than 200  chemicals were in the room.

One firefighter received chemical burns to his upper arm, Middletown fire Deputy Chief Robert Kronenberger said.

Everyone at the scene was medically evaluated. Three students who were near the lab were decontaminated for precautionary reasons.

Two Wesleyan public safety officers who tried to extinguish the fire on their own were treated at the hospital checked out for some possible respiratory injuries. They have been released.

Because the fire involved chemicals, it became a haz-mat situation and was difficult for firefighters to attack at first

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