A dull boom echoed around the UC Santa Cruz campus Wednesday evening — its epicenter being the controlled detonation of a chemical mixture. No individuals were harmed in the process.
At 4:36 p.m., a campuswide alert was issued via phone, text and email warning individuals to stay away from Steinhart Way and the Physical Sciences building. At the same time, Reddit and Snapchat flooded with footage of the Santa Cruz Bomb Squad in the inner shell of Science Hill.
Late Tuesday night, officials were notified that an individual in the labs of the Physical Sciences building erroneously mixed incompatible chemicals. The mix was unintentional, UCSC PD Chief Nader Oweis said, and the individual took the correct safety precautions to temporarily contain the mix for the night.
“Very unintentional, it was very much a mistake,” Oweis said on site, “but the good thing was that once the accident or the mistake was caught, which was very quickly, the individual made sure to follow all of the right protocols and alerted everybody that needed to be alerted.”
Wednesday morning and afternoon UCSC PD, Environmental Health and Safety, the Santa Cruz Fire Department and the Santa Cruz Bomb Squad deliberated ways to safely detonate the chemicals. People who were in the Physical Sciences building were notified by authorities. Evacuation was delayed because other experiments were taking place within the labs, Oweis said. Authorities then went in and physically evacuated the Physical Sciences building and created the barricade radius.
The chemicals were moved from the Physical Sciences building and placed in a device which allowed them to safely detonate and evaporate.