Accidental use of pepper spray led to ITE Building evacuation
Published: Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 20:09
The Information Technology Engineering Building was completely evacuated for 30 minutes Tuesday because a student accidentally discharged a personal canister of pepper spray during a class and contaminated the air in a lecture hall.
Police and fire officials said nobody was injured in the incident and that the event appears to be an accident. The lecture hall in which the student released the pepper spray, room C-80, will be closed for the rest of the night while a cleaning crew ventilates the area.
Lt. Andrew Fournier of the UConn Police Department, who was on the scene, said closing the room for tonight is just a precaution.
“I was in there and it’s really OK,” Fournier said. “We just want to make sure it’s 100 percent OK before we let people back in.”
A police cruiser, a fire truck and another vehicle from the UConn Fire Department were at the scene when the event occurred around 4:10 p.m. and stayed for a little over an hour.
Fournier said police are still speaking with the student who accidentally discharged the pepper spray but that it appears to have been an accident.
“It’s a pretty isolated incident,” Fournier said.
A large crowd formed in front of the building when emergency vehicles arrived and the building was evacuated.
Kristen Colberg, a 5th-semester biomedical engineering major, said she was worried when she saw the gathering in front of the building while she was on her way to class.
“I saw the flashing lights of an ambulance and thought somebody had gotten hurt,” Colberg said. “When I saw the commotion I was confused. It was the first time I’ve seen anything like this at UConn.”
Police said lecture hall C-80 will be open for classes all day tomorrow.