A RESEARCH scholar in chemistry sustained severe burns and another student was injured when a fire broke out at the core laboratory of the chemistry department at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur on Saturday.
The fire, preceded by an explosion, spread panic in the chemistry department and the injured girl student was immediately rushed to the Regency Hospital.
The critically injured student Preeti Chaddha, who hails from Lucknow, is a IInd year student of PhD in Chemistry.
Preeti sustained 25 to 27 per cent burns and was not out of danger, doctors said. Students said around 1 pm on Saturday when they were busy with experiments at the core laboratory an explosion took place at ethanol coolant No Temperature Bath (NTB). The explosion resulted in the fire.
The explosion also caused the ethanol to spread in the laboratory and it fell on Preeti, who was standing close to the NTB along with two other students.
Another male student, whose identity could not be established, also suffered minor injuries.
However, another group of students told Hindustan Times that the accident occurred while they were doing experiments with a solvent propanol.
Fire broke out when propanol was mixed with another chemical. The students claimed that they took out fire extinguishers and controlled the situation.
However, an IIT-K faculty member said the laboratory’s sophisticated alarm system and extinguishers helped to control the fire.
Meanwhile, HoD chemistry Dr Padma Vankar said, “The reasons behind the fire following chemical reaction will be known only when a detailed inquiry will be conducted.” Dr Vankar also said a departmental inquiry into Saturday’s mishap would be conducted to avert such incidents in future.