A contractor for the University of Central Florida was burned after a chemical reaction occurred in a maintenance building on campus on Feb. 18, 2019.
The Orange County Fire Rescue responded to the incident at 3512 Perseus Loop at 3:00 p.m. on Monday. The 29-year-old contractor was the only one in the employee-only environmental and hazardous waste building, which is near the UCF Police Department building.
No students were involved or harmed by the incident.
According to the Orange County Fire Rescue spokesman Mike Jachles, the contractor was moving chemicals for disposal. A static charge occurred when he was transferring the chemicals from a 50-gallon metal drum to a polydrum. The chemical reaction to the static charge resulted in an explosion and a fire that caused the young contractor significant burns to his upper body, chest, arms, hands, and face.
Jachles said, “He was wearing eye protection, which was probably a very fortunate thing because he could have easily been blinded had he not had them on.”
The chemicals were a combination of different metal powders, including magnesium, aluminum, chromium, and other substances.
Firefighters had to use a special fire extinguisher to put out the fire, which was likely burning hotter than 200 degrees Fahrenheit. By 4:30 p.m., the 50-gallon drum was outside the building and the temperature had dropped to 130 degrees.
The incident occurred in an employee-only building designed to handle chemicals.
The contractor was conscious and alert when he was transferred to the Orlando Health Medical Center by Seminole County Fire Rescue.
The contractor’s name has not been released.
By Jeanette Smith
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