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Genome sciences building evacuated after chemical spill

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Seattle Fire Department firefighters test the air in a third-floor room of the William H. Foege building after cleaning up a chemical spill in a vent hood.

The William H. Foege Building was evacuated yesterday after a chemical spill at around 5:45 p.m. More than a dozen UWPD and Seattle Fire Department (SFD) units, including a hazardous material team, responded to the incident. No one was injured in the spill.

SFD Battallion Chief Michael Walsh said that a shelf holding chemicals in a safety cabinet collapsed, causing the substances to mix together in an unsafe manner.

“There was a variety of products that broke and spilled together, some formaldehyde and some unknown products,” Walsh said. “It was about six liters that mixed together, but it was confined to one room on the third floor that had a vent hood.”

Walsh said that one person did have contact with the spilled chemicals, but the individual was able to take an emergency shower and there was no resulting injury.

“The medics took a look at them and they [were] in good shape,” he said.

UW students and staff were notified at 7:40 p.m. that the building was clear and reopened. SFD said that a hazmat team was going to clean up the spill before reopening the room the incident occurred in by today at the earliest.

Reach reporter Nick Visser at news@dailyuw.com.

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