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Firefighters work the scene of a laboratory fire Tuesday morning at the University of Colorado s Cristol Chemistry and Biochemistry Building. No one was hurt, and the fire was extinguished by the building s sprinkler system.
PAUL AIKEN
Firefighters work the scene of a laboratory fire Tuesday morning at the University of Colorado s Cristol Chemistry and Biochemistry Building. No one was hurt, and the fire was extinguished by the building s sprinkler system.

A long-term chemistry experiment may have been the cause of a small laboratory fire at the University of Colorado’s Cristol Chemistry and Biochemistry Building early Tuesday morning, officials said. The fire caused no injuries and was extinguished by the building’s sprinkler system.

The fire occurred in a fume hood in Laboratory 120 of the building, said campus spokesman Bronson Hilliard. The cause is still being investigated, but preliminary findings point to a long-term experiment involving a slow chemical reaction that takes about three months to complete. Officials said the same experiment had previously been done in the lab without incident.

No one was in the building when the fire alarm went off at 5:55 a.m., officials said. The sprinkler system activated immediately, Hilliard said, and a single sprinkler was able to extinguish nearly the entire fire. When firefighters arrived, they put out the remaining flames by patting them with their gloves, he said.

Cristol was closed Tuesday while officials worked to determine the cause of the fire and the extent of damage to the laboratory. The building will reopen Wednesday, with the exception of the organic chemistry labs and faculty offices, which require further cleanup. Students or faculty needing to access those areas to retrieve any lab work will need a special security escort, officials said.

Officials sent a message to CU students, faculty and staff via the campus text-messaging system at 6:43 a.m. and again at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday to tell them that Cristol would be closed for cleanup following a small fire. The system allows campus officials to send messages of 132 characters or less to cell phones in the system’s database in the case of an emergency.

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