Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Small Explosion and Fire Result in Significant Water Damage in Science Centre

Late Tuesday night, October 8, there was a contained explosion in the chemical preparation and storage room on the top floor of the north wing of the Chan Shun Science Centre.  While the chemical storage room was badly damaged, we are incredibly grateful nobody was hurt.  (The authorities are still investigating the cause of this incident.  When they conclude their investigation we will share their findings with you.)

The explosion and subsequent small fire in that one room triggered the sprinkler system on the top floor of the north wing.  As a result, there is significant water damage to our labs on that floor and the floor below.   Fortunately, there was very little or no water damage on either floor of the west wing, which contains classrooms, offices, and the atrium.

As a result of this incident all classes or labs normally conducted in the Chan Shun Science Centre are cancelled today (Wednesday, October 9) and tomorrow (Thursday, October 10).  All other classes in all other locations on campus will meet at their usual time and place today and tomorrow.

Because of the water damage, we will not be able to use any of the labs or other facilities on either floor of the north wing for the remainder of the semester.  We are in the process of identifying new locations we will use for classes and labs that were being held in the north wing.  We will have new locations ready to go when all classes resume Wednesday morning, October 16.  Signs will be posted and e-mails will be sent identifying each new class/lab location.

We will have both floors of the west wing ready for use by Tuesday, October 14.
If you have personal effects in the north wing that you would like us to retrieve, please e-mail your request to Bonita Campbell.  If you notify Bonita promptly, we should be able to have retrieved your personal effects by 2 pm, Tuesday, October 14.
I want to personally thank Darren Bishop and his staff in Plant Services and Campus Security for their prompt and effective reaction to this event.  Many of them have been working on this situation since 11:30 pm last night and, without having stopped for sleep or rest, are still at work. 

As we have the opportunity, all of us should thank the firefighters and emergency response personnel from Lacombe, Blackfalds, Bentley and Red Deer who so professionally served us.  I am also very grateful for the assistance Nova Chemicals and Dr. Laurence Wong provided.

Finally, I want to thank the students who helped us respond to this difficult situation.  Students who were studying in the Chan Shun Science Centre immediately pulled the fire alarm, called 911 and made sure nobody was hurt, before evacuating the building.  Then, without delay, they texted, e-mailed and called me and other campus administrators! Thank you for reacting in a prompt and proper manner.  Thank you for showing care and concern for each other.  I am very proud of you.

We will most certainly get through this difficult time.  We will completely restore our Science Centre as expertly and quickly as possible.  As we go through this process, please do what you can to encourage those who are doing the restoration work, and the faculty, staff and students whose work and study have been disrupted.

Please remember that Jr Ferrer is CUC’s official liaison with the media.  If you are contacted by the media, please refer them to Jr or me.

Finally, please be careful to only post information that you are absolutely certain is accurate on your Facebook page and other social media sites.  If you need factual information, please contact Jr. 


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