PULLMAN, Wash. — A laboratory experiment at Washington State University went awry Friday, igniting a chemical fire and severely burning a student.
Firefighters quickly extinguished the 2:22 p.m. blaze on the fifth floor of Fulmer Hall, the university's chemistry building, according to the Pullman Fire Department.
Witnesses told investigators that students were conducting experiments with hexane, a hydrocarbon found in gasoline.
A female student fell backward when the fire erupted but didn't appear to have any serious injuries, although she is pregnant and told firefighters she would see her doctor. A male student was taken to Pullman Regional Hospital with third-degree burns to his left leg.
The students used a fire extinguisher, but it didn't extinguish the flames. They also tried to close the vent hood, but it wouldn't close all the way.
WSU police will investigate further. The amount of damage is unknown.
The building was evacuated but reopened about 40 minutes later when firefighters doused the blaze.
Copyright 2013 Spokane Spokesman-Review