Chem-H building evacuated after accident triggers chemical, smoke alarms

March 31, 2022, 12:08 a.m.

An equipment accident in the Chem-H building triggered an immediate evacuation and a hazmat response, according to a Stanford Department of Public Safety (SUDPS) Community Alert. The SUDPS urged the community to avoid the area surrounding the Chem-H building until 2:30 p.m.

Lab members who work in the building reported smoke coming from the W215 cold room, a room on the west side of the building, as early as 8:05 a.m. After hazardous chemical and smoke alarms were activated, the entire Chem-H building was evacuated. No one was injured.

The University sent updates to the school community throughout the morning, advising students that Campus Drive West between Roth Way and Panama, and Via Pueblo between Panama and Via Ortega were closed while a hazmat team responded at the scene.

The area was deemed safe after it was discovered that a plastic beaker left on a hot surface melted, burned and released smoke that triggered the alarms in the building, Stanford News reported. Despite the small source, the fire department followed through with a chemical reading twice to secure the building after the first result was inconclusive. As a result of the incident, the building also lost connection to its network, but was able to get back online following the reopening.

Labs in the building work with animals, although it is unclear if the animals were affected or evacuated. SUDPS spokesperson Bill Larson redirected The Daily to the Palo Alto Fire Department, which did not immediately respond to The Daily’s response for comment.

This article has been updated to accurately reflect the response from the Stanford University Department of Public Safety. The Daily regrets this error.

Alexis Joy Viloria '25 is a writer in the News section. Hailing from Maui, Hawaii, Alexis is interested in earth systems and enjoys surfing and crocheting in her free time. Contact her at news 'at'

Login or create an account