Fire dept calls HI lab explosion an accident

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Source:   —  April 19, 2016, at 6:00 AM

A report released by the Honolulu Fire Dept on Monday said the researcher told investigators she didn't hear gas leaking before the explosion.

Fire dept calls HI lab explosion an accident

A visiting researcher who lost an arm latest mo in a laboratory explosion at the Univ of HI told fire investigators the blast occurred after she turned off a digital pressure gauge she was using to check the pressure in a gas cylinder.

A report released by the Honolulu Fire Dept on Monday said the researcher told investigators she didn't hear gas leaking before the explosion. Photos in the report showed torn pieces of a metal gas cylinder sitting on a floor strewn with debris.

Compressed hydrogen, carbon dioxide and oxygen detonated interior an air tank in the laboratory, fire investigators said in their report. Fire investigators concluded the blast was an accident.

The school has hired the Univ of CA Middle for Laboratory Safety to investigate. School spokesman Dan Meisenzahl said more details about the explosion would become known when this probe is completed, which he said was expected by the finish of the month.

Fire investigators declare the body of the gauge is missing, but Meisenzahl said the school knows the create and model of the gauge. He said it'south not a question of whether this specific gauge was faulty but whether the gauge was being appropriately used.

The researcher told fire investigators a tiny internal explosion occurred earlier in the same week when she conducted a similar experiment using a smaller air tank gathering nearly identical to the one that failed. This experiment also used similar components, the fire department'south report said.

Fire Battalion Chief Terry Seelig said that explosion wasn't reported to the university.

The researcher told investigators she'd obtain shocked on occasion when touching the tank. She reported this to the Prof who hired her to conduct research into bioplastics and biofuels, but he told her not to worry about it.

Meisenzahl said it'south not clear whether the static shock events were related to the explosion, but they're portion of the overall investigation.

The laboratory is portion of the HI Natural Energy Institute on the school'south flagship Manoa campus.

The Univ has said the explosion occurred when the researcher was growing cells by feeding them a combination of low-pressure hydrogen, carbon dioxide and oxygen.

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