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UW chemistry building evacuated

Building evacuated due to liquid nitrogen tank leak, officials say

MADISON, Wis. - University of Wisconsin Madison officials evacuated the chemistry building on campus after reports of a leaking liquid nitrogen tank Monday night.

Officials responded after a passerby reported a vapor cloud next to the building at 1101 University Ave., according to a release.

UW Police evacuated the building and limited access to the area, according to the release.

The Madison Fire Department Hazardous Incident Team was able to slow the leak until a technician could respond to make repairs, according to the release.

A technician from an industrial gas company that supplies liquid nitrogen was requested to respond to the scene, according to the release.

The technician instructed firefighters, who had sent pictures of the 3,000-gallon tank to his phone, to turn off a switch on the control panel, reducing the amount of nitrogen leaking from the tank, according to the release.

Firefighters used gas monitors to check the air quality in the building before allowing people back into the building, according to the release.

UW safety personnel and building management remained at the scene until the technician arrived to make the needed repairs, according to the release.

Officials said liquid nitrogen is an extremely cold liquid that can cause rapid suffocation and severe frostbite.

Nitrogen is not poisonous, but is dangerous because it can deplete the oxygen level in an enclosed space, according to the release.

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