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Two IIT Buildings Evacuated For Acid Spill

The engineering building at the Illinois Institute of Technology and a neighboring campus building were evacuated on May 8, 2012, due to an acid spill. (Credit: CBS)

The engineering building at the Illinois Institute of Technology and a neighboring campus building were evacuated on May 8, 2012, due to an acid spill. (Credit: CBS)

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Updated 05/08/12 – 4:15 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) – Two buildings on the campus of the Illinois Institute of Technology was evacuated Tuesday afternoon as firefighters responded to an acid spill.

Around 1:40 p.m., Chicago firefighters initiated a Level 2 Hazardous Materials response at an engineering building on the IIT campus.

Chicago Fire Department spokesman Will Knight said there had been an acid spill in the basement of the engineering building at 3110 S. State St. Officials evacuated that building and the IIT life sciences building at 3105 S. State St.

IIT vice president of communications Jeanne Hartig said the acid was “a material that is used to etch other materials,” although she could not say what specific type of acid it is.

Two graduate students discovered the acid spill during a routine inventory of chemicals at the engineering building, she said. Those students notified authorities and the two buildings were evacuated as a precaution.

“I do want to emphasize that there is no danger to our students, no danger to our university, and all the proper procedures that we have in place were followed at the very beginning,” she said.

Hartig said it was possible a professional cleaning company would need to be brought in to complete the cleanup of the acid spill. She said she could not estimate how long cleanup would take.

No one was injured, according to Hartig.

She said she did not know how many students were in the buildings at the time, but she said the university is nearing its commencement for spring 2012, so it’s likely the buildings were not crowded.