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Merkert Hall Evacuated After Chemical Leak

Students and faculty evacuated Merkert Hall early Monday afternoon due to a hydrogen sulfide leak, according to the Boston Fire Department. The BFD ensured the leak had stopped and checked the building to make sure there was an “acceptable level of safe oxygen” before allowing people back inside shortly before 2 p.m., Captain Ryan McGovern said. No one was injured. 

McGovern said that BFD does not know what caused the leak.

Hydrogen sulfide, or “sewer gas,” is a highly flammable and toxic colorless gas, according to the Occupational Health and Safety Administration. The gas is known for smelling like rotten eggs at low concentrations.

Before being allowed back in, students sat in circles between Merkert and Alumni Stadium waiting to resume work in the laboratories. One graduate organic chemistry student said it wasn’t too uncommon for the fire alarm to go off in labs.

“Just got to take the precautionary measures, because it could go from bad to worse if things aren’t handled right,” Ricky Alvarado, a graduate student in MCAS, said.

This story is being updated.

Featured Image by Colleen Martin / Heights Editor

October 5, 2020