Published: Oct. 15, 2012

Contact: Ryan Huff, Communications Manager, Police Department 303-492-7581 /                                              

At 3:11 p.m. today, someone smelled a suspicious odor in the Engineering Center’s Chemical Wing. The reporting party called CU Police and pulled a nearby fire alarm. Shortly thereafter, CU Police evacuated the Chemical Wing. Firefighters also confirmed the odor and requested that the Boulder Fire Department Hazardous Materials Team respond.

At 4:29 p.m., a fire alarm was activated in the Civil Engineering Wing of the Engineering Center. As a precaution, Boulder Fire and CU Police ordered that the entire Engineering Center be evacuated. This closure affected several hundred students. CU Emergency Management sent an emergency text alert to CU-Boulder students, faculty and staff, notifying them of the full closure, at 4:47 p.m.

The Hazardous Materials Team investigated the odor and determined there was no widespread public health danger. Around 6 p.m., the CU Environmental Health & Safety Department attempted to identify the source of the smell, but could not locate it. By that time, the smell was gone. EH&S officials will investigate further tomorrow, and interview occupants of the Chemical Wing. The Engineering Center re-opened at 6:30 p.m., with the exception of the Chemical Wing basement level. That area re-opened by approximately 7 p.m. No one was injured.

Successful evacuations of the Chemical Wing were delayed because some occupants ignored the audible fire alarms long after they were activated. The CU Police Department asks for the public’s cooperation during emergencies.

“It’s very important that people evacuate a building when they hear a fire alarm,” said CU-Boulder Police Chief Joe Roy. “Ignoring a fire alarm can put you and others in danger.”