The Fire Brigade was called to UEA this morning following a small fire, which started at 10:25, in the School of Chemistry. Students and staff were evacuated to the designated assembly point, but many thought it was simply a drill or malfunction with the alarm. However, when eight engines arrived on the scene over the course of the morning, along with an ambulance, it became clear that this was not a false alarm.

A student told Concrete:

“When the alarm went off, we all assumed it was a drill and walked outside but when we found our lecturer he said it was a real incident – whilst we were standing round waiting to go back in we heard fire engines arrive.”

The fire started when a chemical spill occurred at the top of the building. Ryan, a chemistry student, told Concrete: “The compound that was spilled was pyrophoric, meaning it is very flammable. It was flowing towards a solvent fume hood full of other flammable liquids, so it could have been pretty serious”.

Although reported to be minor, it seems as if one person was injured in the accident, which has left the main teaching wall largely cordoned off, and it is set to remain this way until late this afternoon.

Holly Staynor, Welfare and Diversity Officer at the Union of UEA Students said:

“I’m really sorry to hear a student has been hurt, we really hope UEA has measures in place to make sure this doesn’t happen again. I really hope student welfare is treated with utmost priority through all areas.”

A spokesperson from UEA has said that the cause of the fire is still being investigated.

Click thumbnails to enlarge.