Students and faculty are now allowed to exit the Eames Complex in the area that was affected by a chemical leak.
After nearly five hours, the incident command team has said the leak has been contained enough to the point where first responders can work with building occupants to remove personal vehicles from the containment area.
“It’s been controlled enough to the point where (they can) move cars and clear the area further,” said Brian Sagendorf, Idaho State University Vice President for Operations.
After that, the incident team will be able to do a final clean up of any remaining hazardous materials.
Officials are still asking the public to stay clear of the area. Classes in the Eames Complex have been cancelled for the remainder of the day.
POCATELLO — Students and faculty in the area of a hazardous materials leak have been ordered to shelter in place on Idaho State University’s Pocatello campus.
ISU sent out a student alert at 11:43 a.m. Wednesday warning students to stay clear of the William M. and Karin A. Eames Advanced Technical Education and Innovation Complex at 1999 Alvin Ricken Drive. It also warned students currently inside the building to stay there and not evacuate.
“There is (a) hazardous materials event occurring outside the EAMES complex on (the) Pocatello campus,” the alert said. “Please stay clear of this area if you are going to this location.”
First responders and hazardous material experts are currently on the scene and have created a safety perimeter around shipping containers where the leak occurred.
A news release from the Pocatello Fire Department says ISU employees were in the process of inventorying and removing donated neutron detectors. They discovered the detectors contained cracks, causing a Boron trifluoride gas leak.
The employees were in full protective gear and are trained in handling hazardous materials, so exposure risk from the leak was low and there were no injuries. The inventory was being completed with safety procedures and personal protective equipment for handling toxic materials, according to the release.
The Pocatello Fire Department has since taken the lead on the incident, “and emergency crews are on scene to contain the material safely.”
“The first responders are currently safely repackaging materials for later removal, but the risk to the public is being contained,” university spokeswoman Emily Frandsen said.
Currently, there are no known exposures or risks to the public outside the perimeter or inside the nearby building.
Air intakes in the building in the affected area were shut off, “out of an abundance of caution to reduce potential risk to occupants.”
“People who are currently in the Eames Complex building have been asked to briefly shelter in place,” according to the release.
EastIdahoNews.com will update this story as more information becomes available.