Improper disposal of chemicals Tuesday afternoon resulted in an hourlong evacuation of Kansas University's Malott Hall because fumes from the chemicals were believed potentially explosive.
Batallion Chief Jerry Karr of the Lawrence Fire Department said the evacuation began around 2 p.m. when a smell of unknown gas was reported in the basement level of Malott Hall. Karr said there were indications that the gas could have been flammable.
Karr said the situation arose because someone had dumped unknown chemicals down lab drains from one of the building's upper levels. A dry trap then had allowed the chemicals' odor to fill a room on the north side of the basement level.
Karr said firefighters managed to wash the chemicals into a trap and rid the building of the gaseous fumes.
He said people were allowed back into Malott around 2:50 p.m.
KU senior Jim Dudley, Lawrence, said he was in the middle of a meteorology class in Malott when the evacuation occurred. Given the occurence of bomb scares in the past, Dudley didn't think there was a real cause for alarm at first.
"We were wondering which class had the test," Dudley said.
But KU graduate student Craig Clark, Lawrence, said he knew something was going on. He said firefighters instructed him not only to leave Malott but to "get back from the building."