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Grad Student Injured In Fire at Building 18

By Frank Dabek

A graduate student was injured when a small solvent fire broke out in a lab in Building 18 around noon yesterday.

Sarah L. Aeilts G was taken by ambulance to Massachusetts General Hospital with first and second degree burns to her forearm where she was treated and released. The fire apparently began when fumes from an open bottle of pentane flashed.

Deputy Chief of the Cambridge Fire Department Michael Morrissey said that “the product flashed [but] there was no extension” of the fire, meaning that nothing other than the solvent burned.

Cambridge Fire arrived on the scene with three fire engines, but Morrissey said that their response was precautionary. “The event was over by the time we arrived,” he said. The fire department also verified that no pentane remained in the air after the fire.

The incident occurred in room 18-165, a laboratory used by students of Professor of Chemistry Richard R. Schrock. The room appeared undamaged about 30 minutes after the fire.

Pentane is a common organic solvent often used for extraction and chromotography. It is highly flammable.

This is the second fire to break out in one of Schrok’s labs in the past year. A hexane fueled fire damaged a lab in Building 6 last October.