Chemical Spill Prompts Investigation At MSU’S F-RIB Facility

EAST LANSING, MI (WLNS) – Employees were working with a chemical they’ve used before inside a building that is part of MSU’s F-RIB facility.

“It’s standard procedure within the operation of the facility, so nothing special that they did or didn’t try out,” said Georg Bollen, Experimental Systems Divisions, director, F-RIB.

F-RIB’s experimental systems director says something went wrong when employees tried to neutralize or throw away a chemical. A strong odor soon emerged.

“I don’t think we really know what happened.”

What did happen though soon after the odor developed, was an alarm went off, alerting the 10 employees inside to quickly exit the building.

One was taken the hospital as a precaution.

University police and East Lansing fire were called in to keep people at a distance, even making sure 6 News didn’t get too close as the odor spread outside.

“This is what we practice for, we have the chemistry building on campus, we’ve had responses to the chemistry building, so this is nothing out of the ordinary,” said Sgt. Florene McGlothian-Taylor, Michigan State Police.

Both Michigan State Police as well as the Experimental Systems director at F-RIB say this is an example of following proper procedure, in case something goes wrong to immediately exit the building.

“Once the alarm went off the employees evacuated the building as they should.”

“For whatever reason things can sometimes go wrong and we don’t know exactly always what the reason is, but the important thing is when someone notices something wrong that they reacted in the right way.”

That’s exactly what happened. Everyone managed to get out safely, leaving environmental and health crews now to figure out how it all happened in the first place.

The Experimental Systems director says they’ll be looking at changing procedures for throwing away chemicals in the facility if they need to, following the investigation’s outcome.

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