January 27, 2007

Chemical explosion injures Purdue postdoctoral students

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Two Purdue University postdoctoral chemistry students were injured late Saturday afternoon (Jan. 27) in a minor explosion in the Wetherill Laboratory of Chemistry.

Ismael Cotte-Rodriguez, 31, and Heriberto Hernandez, 35, both of West Lafayette, were taken to St. Elizabeth Medical Center , said university spokesperson Jeanne Norberg. The explosion caused several fractures in the index finger of Cotte-Rodriguez's left hand. Hernandez was treated for minor injuries and released.

The pair had been working with a peroxide compound that became unstable, Norberg said. Such chemicals can become unstable due to friction, shaking or humidity.

As a precaution, the Tippecanoe County bomb squad took seven vials of chemicals from the lab to the university's gravel pit and detonated them.

Source: Jeanne Norberg, (765) 491-1460, jnorberg@purdue.edu

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096; purduenews@purdue.edu


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