Acid Scare Prompts Building Evacuations at IIT

Students unfamiliar with substance they found while doing inventory called school’s Public Safety department to be "extra cautious," official said

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    A report of an acid spill prompted the evacuation of two buildings and a HazMat response at the Illinois Institute of Technology on the South Side on Tuesday afternoon.

    The acid spill was reported shortly after 1 p.m. in the basement of 3110 S. State St., said fire department spokesman Will Knight. That building, as well as a neighboring building, were evacuated.

    But a spokesman for the school said there was no spill. The HazMat response was secured about 3:40 p.m.

    Jeanne Hartig, vice president of communications at IIT, said students were conducting a regular chemical inventory in the Engineering 1 Building when they found a safety container holding a material used for etching metals.

    The students were unfamiliar with the substance and contacted the school’s Public Safety department to be "extra cautious," she said.

    The police Bomb and Arson Unit removed the material from the building with firefighters’ assistance, Fire Media Director Larry Langford said. About 200 people were evacuated from the two buildings.

    There were no reported injuries.