BREAKING: Fire closes Innovation and Discovery Halls

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Update 3: The fire department has given the all-clear. The Discovery and Innovation Halls are open, but all classes in those buildings are still canceled.

Update 2: The fire started when a team of graduate students working in a lab were practicing with chemicals according to UVM spokesperson Enrique Corredera.

A vial containing a compound broke causing a flash fire, burning one of the students on the arm. The caution to enter the building and handle the fume hood is because the emergency response team is unsure what the compound was.

People in hazmat suits are now inside the building handling the situation.

Update 1: One person has been injured in the fire, but it is a minor injury according to Burlington Deputy Fire Chief Aaron Collete. The fire is no longer burning but the Burlington Fire Department is working with Vermont Hazardous Materials and UVM Risk Management to devise a plan to remove the fume hood without combustion.

A chemical fire inside of UVM’s Discovery and Innovation Halls has closed the buildings as emergency personnel figure out how to safely extinguish the flames.

Just after 11:00 a.m. firefighters entered the building to gather more information.

UVM Police Services Sergeant Peter Chapman said there was a fire in a lab inside one of the two buildings.

“There is a small fire contained in a hooded lab but there are concerns about what it was,” said UVM Police Officer Sergeant Peter Chapman.

The Burlington Fire Department, UVM Police Services, and the highest-ranking graduate student from the lab on the scene are coming up with a plan. Personnel began by containing the fire, and are now working to create a plan.

“I think everything is safe at this point but before they go back in that lab they just want to have all their ducks in a row,” Chapman said. “Basically because of that, the facility needs to be shut down.”

A person on the scene familiar with the incident said that because the fire is chemical there are extra precautions that need to be taken.

“The concern is that at some point they need to take it out of the fume hood,” they said. “And they’re scared that when they do it will burst into flames,” said a person on the scene familiar with the incident.”

A CAT Alert sent out to students at 11:37 said all classes in those halls are canceled for the day.