‘Corrosive substance’ leak prompts Hitt Street closure

The three people in the room were evacuated and cleaned.
Three firefighters exit the Sears Plant Growth facility behind Memorial Union on the evening of Sept. 3. The facility was evacuated as a precaution after chemical leak and no one was injured.

Hitt Street was closed near the Student Center after MU officials received alert of a “corrosive substance” leaking from a container in the Sears Plant Growth Facility in the evening of Sept. 3.

The room containing the substance in question has been evacuated as five fire engines, two ambulances, police officers and officials in hazmat suits canvassed the scene.

No injuries have been reported. However, officers confirm that the three individuals present in the room with the potentially hazardous substance have received medical attention.

“There was a very, very small canister that leaked in one room of the Sears Greenhouse,” MU spokesman Christian Basi said at the scene. “It contains a chemical used for plant breeding. So as precaution, they evacuated the room.”

Basi elaborated that the substance is “used for plant breeding research.”

“It was in a container,” he said. “A very small container. Talking about less than 4 ounces worth of material. So it’s not a lot of material.”

Three people were reported to be in the room that contained the substance.

“Those people have been evacuated,” Basi said. “As a precaution, the fire department is going to make sure that they are clean.” The room and individuals will be cleaned, Basi said.

“They kept them away from the rest of the group that was there,” he said. “They’re going through some cleaning procedures now.”

Basi did confirm that the individuals who were evacuated from the room are affiliated with MU.

“They are going a little slowly because everyone is taking their time,” Basi said. “We want to make sure that everything is done properly.”

MU Alert reported the leak at 9:15 p.m.

“In case folks ask about why an alert text was not sent out, this incident was contained to a room inside a building,” Basi said. “First responders got there quickly and were able to cordon off the area, and the public was never in any danger at the time. Therefore, there was no need to send out an alert to the broader campus. We used other means of communicating, including posting some information on MU Alert, once we realized that there were some questions being asked.”

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