TEMPE, Ariz. - A routine clean up of a lab in a building on Arizona State University's campus took a turn for the worse Tuesday afternoon.
Three people were injured and two were hospitalized with serious injuries following an explosion at the Biodesign A building, according to the Tempe Fire Department on Sept. 15.
No students were inside the building at the time of the explosion.
"With the information that we had, we had an overpressurization during the decontamination process," explained Andrea Glass, Assistant Fire Chief with Tempe Fire Medical Rescue Department.
David Gillum, senior director of Environmental Health and Safety, says a contracted company, Controlled Environment Management, used a system and solution that uses a mixture of two gases, chlorine and nitrogen gas, as well as another chemical, to create chlorine dioxide.
Further explaining, "What they are doing is there is something called biological safety cabinet. It's a piece of equipment that you use that you conduct biological research in. It's designed to protect the individual, product that you're working with and the community."
Decontamination is done every time after the research is over, Gillum said, adding that the process is being investigated so that this can be prevented.
"We are investigating exactly what happened. This is something that they do, this decontamination, all the time, every day across the country. Very routine procedure and we're just trying to figure out exactly what happened," he said.