Several teams of firefighters were called to Brookes University yesterday after a dangerous chemical leak was detected in the Sinclair building.
The South Central Ambulance Service treated one man on the site for breathing difficulties, but no other casualties were reported.
Students and staff working in the surrounding parts of the campus on Headington road had to be evacuated at 11am. The area stayed empty until the site was declared safe again.
The leak was the result of an incident in the Sinclair laboratories for Health and Life sciences. The labs were kept closed by the security services for a few hours in order to ensure that there was no remaining risk of contamination.
Crews from Oxfordshire Fire and Rescue, three fire engines and a Hazardous Decontamination Unit all rapidly arrived at the scene from Slade, Abingdon and Didcot as well as an ambulance from the South Central service.
The incident was described as “a chemical/hazardous material incident” by the firefighters, according to County council Paul Smith who talked to the Oxford Mail directly after the events yesterday. “The situation is under control and has been made safe and firefighters expect to be able to leave the scene within the next hour,” Paul Smith added.
Natalie Gidley, spokeswoman for Brookes University, told the Oxford Mail, “It’s as a result of an incident involving a chemical spill in one of the labs in the Sinclair building. “The building has been temporarily closed and evacuated and we think it will be shut for two or three hours.”
The Sinclair building is situated in the centre of Brookes’ main campus on Headington road. The John Henry Brookes building opposite it houses the main reception along with Brookes Union, cafes and a library.
Other buildings in Headington are currently closed for refurbishment, including the Clerici building which will offer new research offices and science laboratories.