Firefighters answer calls at Duke lab, house

May. 05, 2014 @ 08:50 PM

A chemical fire at a Duke University lab brought Durham firefighters to West Campus on Monday, but the flare-up was quickly extinguished.
Firefighters were called at 1:30 p.m. to the Levine Science Research Center at 308 Research Drive after an automatic fire alarm went off, Deputy Chief Chris Iannuzzi of the Durham Fire Department said. Follow-up information led the responding battalion chief to upgrade the call to a structure fire with hazardous materials.
A lab technician opened a bottle containing about an ounce of sodium hydride with trimethylsulfoxonium iodide, which reacted with air and combusted, Iannuzzi said.
The fire went out quickly with a short burst from an extinguisher, and no one was hurt. There was minor damage to the floor.
Twenty-seven firefighters were on the scene an hour and 15 minutes.
A short time later, at 3:20 p.m., firefighters answered a call at 623 Bacon St., a few blocks from Durham Technical Community College. They saw smoke from the single-story residence.
A bedroom fire was extinguished quickly, but the room was destroyed, Iannuzzi said. An adjacent room had significant damage, and there was smoke and heat damage to the rest of the house.
No one was home, but the Red Cross was called to provide shelter for one adult and six children.
The cause is being investigated.