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Small Ethanol Fire In Building 56

The Cambridge Fire Department responded to a laboratory fire in Building 56, the Whitaker Building, last Friday, Sept. 21. There were no injuries and only minimal damage.

John Gelinas, chief of operations at the Cambridge Fire Department, said that “100 milliliters of ethanol was spilled on a lab bench” by a researcher. A nearby Bunsen burner served as an ignition source for the alcohol. Gelinas added that the laboratory manager “spread a fire blanket” to control the fire, but the fire extended to the floor. MIT personnel also tried to use a dry chemical fire extinguisher to control the fire. The fire alarm was then pulled at approximately 11:46 a.m.

Firefighters extinguished the fire and checked the air quality before reopening the building; the entire procedure took about 45 minutes, Gelinas said.

—Arkajit Dey