Chemistry Building at University of Maryland College Park Evacuated Due to Lab Fire

A chemistry building at University of Maryland College Park was evacuated Wednesday morning after an experiment caused a classroom fire, leading 17 people to be taken to a hospital for evaluation, authorities said.

People were conducting a lab experiment when a chemical reaction caught on fire at the Chemical & Nuclear Engineering Building, campus police said. Prince George's County Fire & EMS were called about 11 a.m.

The fire was extinguished by a powder extiguisher, a fire department spokesman said.

Multiple people were transported for precautionary evaluations, the fire department said: four students, a contractor, an employee, eight Prince George's County Fire personnel, two members of the campus police department and an assistant fire marshal. A spokesman initially said there were no reports of injuries.

Firefighters worked to clear the building and make sure all fire was out. The building was being ventilated by a fan.

The fire department said about 2 p.m. that they were preparing to clear the scene soon.

Campus police asked people to avoid the area and follow police directions.

Nearly four years ago, five Northern Virginia high school students and a teacher were injured after a demonstration in a chemistry class sparked an accidental explosion. Two of the students suffered serious burns and had to be airlifted.

The October 2015 blast at W.T. Woodson High School in Fairfax occurred as a teacher performed an experiment, Fairfax County's fire chief said.

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