Thirty firemen called to chemistry building

Photo: Elliot Davies
Photo: Elliot Davies
Photo: Elliot Davies

A fire alarm in a chemistry laboratory saw seven fire engines called out to the Purdie Building on Monday morning.

The building was evacuated after the room filled with fumes, which were automatically treated as dangerous because their source was unknown.

Seven fire engines and one support vehicle, in total carrying around 30 firemen, arrived at the North Haugh prepared to deal with a chemical fire. Firefighters wearing breathing apparatus and gas-tight suits entered the building to investigate the source of the smoke but investigations determined that it was not toxic.

A spokesperson for the Scottish Fire and Rescue service said: “It was discovered that the product released was an experiment that had overheated during the night and presented no significant hazard.”

Staff and students were given the all-clear at around 13:00 after the building was ventilated.

A University spokesperson said: “There was a small release of oil vapour from a rotary pump in a lab on the fourth floor of Purdie this morning which set off the very sensitive alarms in the building. At no stage was there any fire. No-one was injured and normal procedures were followed, which included a large precautionary turnout from the emergency services. Staff were evacuated from the building for a period as a precaution but returned soon afterwards.”

Professor Derek Woollins, head of the School of Chemistry, said he was relieved that it was a very minor incident and that he was grateful nonetheless for the prompt and professional response from the Fire Service, Scottish Ambulance Service and Police Scotland.

Station manager Steven Michie commented: “This incident highlights the need to prepare for incidents at sites of this nature as this was the very building where a multi-agency exercise was conducted only last month. The first responding crews gathered the appropriate information, liaised with site specialists and implemented a rehearsed tactical plan. The multi-agency response to this incident ensured a swift safe and successful conclusion.”


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