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Chemical explosion on UI campus

Latest: 10:31 pm UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS -- A campus building was evacuated after a chemical blast.
Latest: 10:31 pm
UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS -- 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 overpressurized 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 clear by Wednesday morning and students will be working in the lab by the afternoon.
Update: 6:01 pm
URBANA -- Emergency responders are still on the scene of a chemical explosion on the UI campus. It happened Tuesday afternoon in the Chem Annex in the 600-block of South Mathews.

Authorities say students were working on a project mixing chemicals in a plastic bottle when it exploded. The hazmat team went in to clean up the area. A teaching lab assistant says it's believed to have been an acid-based chemical which reacted.

Three students were sprayed by it and jumped in a shower to wash off. They were taken to the hospital, but are expected to be OK. The area is currently still blocked off, but is safe.
Original: 4:04 pm
UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS -- Emergency crews are on the scene of an explosion at the Chem Annex in the 600-block of South Mathews. The building has been evacuated.

Witnesses say the blast was a chemical reaction. The reagents involved are unknown at this time.

Three students were reportedly exposed to the product and were taken to the hospital for treatment. The extent of any injuries is not known.
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