Burn victim OK hospital reports; center closes for tests

Xui Zhu, a research associate in Florida A&M University’s College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Science, is listed in good condition after receiving burns from a chemical fire at the Frederick S. Humphries Science Research Center Thursday morning.

Zhu suffered second-degree burns to his hands and flash burns to his face and hair. He was taken to Tallahassee Memorial Hospital.

Calvin Ross, FAMU Police Department Chief, said two students were treated for inhalation of fumes from the chemical.

Lithium aluminum hydride, a chemical widely used in organic chemistry as a reducing agent, was said to have mixed with moisture, which caused a chemical fire on the fifth floor laboratory.

“Occupants activated the fire alarm and the building was immediately evacuated,” Ross said.

Approximately 10:19 a.m., according to Ross, the FAMU Police Department sent the first campus emergency alert to the campus that there was a chemical fire in the science research building and that FAMU PD was on the scene.

Michael Abazinge, an environmental science professor, stood outside along with his students.

“The only alarm I heard was to ask us to leave,” Abazinge said. “I didn’t hear anything though.”

Five Tallahassee Fire Department trucks were on the scene. The Tallahassee Hazardous Materials and Waste Contractors and Leon County Emergency Medical Services were on the scene as well.

Following the evacuation, classes were cancelled at SRC. However, classes will resume today.

“The science research building is going to be closed for a couple of days in order for the building to be decontaminated and to test the quality of the air,” Ross said.