Update: Officials finish investigating lab explosion

Emergency crews on the scene of the explosion

Update: Friday, July 9 at 2:05 p.m.

University of Missouri officials have concluded their investigation of the explosion that happened in a chemistry lab in Schweitzer Hall.

Professor Judy Wall and her team of researchers were setting up a routine microbiological growth chamber. The chamber uses hydrogen, which was prematurely added to the chamber when the explosion happened.

During the set-up of the chamber, investigators reported that two factors contributed to the premature hydrogen release. First, the hydrogen tank was left open after checking for leaks. Second, the connection that prevents the hydrogen and nitrogen from mixing at the same time in the chamber was not in place.

Everyone involved in the accident is doing well. The one person who was admitted to the hospital was released the following evening.

See the media release here

Update: Tuesday, June 29 at 1:25 p.m.

MU officials said in a statement that Schweitzer Hall has been declared structurally sound and safe for researchers to resume activities in other parts of the building.

The statement said that the four individuals, including a graduate student, a research scientist and two post-doctoral fellows, were injured in the blast and transported to University Hospital. The individual who remains in the hospital is currently listed in ~good TM condition by University Hospital.

MU officials indicated that the laboratory will be completely rebuilt.

Read the complete statement here

Update: Tuesday, June 29 at 11:20 a.m.

Columbia Fire Department official Steven Sapp said that the investigation of the explosion is still underway.

Sapp said that human error is a possible cause of the fire, but it is not the definite cause.

Investigators are still looking into possible mechanical issues, failure in the anaerobic hood or the piping.

The investigation is slowly progressing because of damaged equipment and one victim still in the hospital.

Update: Monday, June 28 at 10:39 p.m.

Human error caused an explosion that rocked a science lab on the MU campus Monday afternoon, according to fire investigators.

Investigators said lab personnel were not familiar with the warning systems designed to alert them when hydrogen levels got too high. The gas was left on and when it reached an ignition source caused the explosion.

University officials said they'll take another look at safety procedures.

Update: Monday, June 28 at 6:37 p.m.

MU spokesman said Christian Basi of four taken to hospital, three have been released.

The fourth victim, who was in the ICU burn unit, is now is good condition.

Update: Monday, June 28 at 6:13 p.m.

Hydrogen and nitrogen were being used in a process under an anaerobic hood, when the gases spontaneously combusted.

The process involved bacteria that thrived in a hydrogen rich environment. Earlier reports of a 2,000 pound hydrogen tank exploding were not correct.

There were no classes going on in the building and the explosion was contained within the lab on the third floor of the building.

Two of the four victims have been released from the hospital.

Update: Monday, June 28 at 5:23 p.m.

MU News released a statement that said that "the explosion, which is still being investigated, is believed to have been caused by a spontaneous combustion of gases including hydrogen and nitrogen that were being used in a research experiment."

Read the complete statement here

Update: Monday, June 28 at 4:43 p.m.

Of the four victims injured during the explosion, three have been identified as students.

Two victims were post doctorate students and one was a graduate student.

The position of the fourth victim is still unknown.

Update: Monday, June 28 at 4:16 p.m.

Fire investigators are at University Hospital questioning victims.

The victim who was critically injured suffers from impact injures to the chest and burns and is being taken to the ICU.

One victim suffered minor injuries because of asthma brought on by stress.

The other two victims suffer from shrapnel type injuries like minor cuts and burns.

Two fire marshals are in the building to determine the source of ignition.

The victims were working on a process involving hydrogen and non-dangerous bacteria.

Update: Monday, June 28 at 3:15 p.m.

A 2,000 pound hydrogen tank exploded on the third floor of Schweitzer Hall.

Officials said that four people were injured after the explosion and have been taken to the hospital. One was critically injured; the other three had minor to moderate injuries.

People were conducting an experiment with the hydrogen gas and non-dangerous bacteria. Something went wrong during the experiment, which caused the explosion.

Officials said that they are not sure if the injured people were students or teachers.

The northwest side of the building suffered significant damage. There were 17 blown out windows.

There was a small fire that was contained within 10 minutes.

The building has been evacuated.

Original Story:

An explosion at the University of Missouri chemistry building injured three people.

One person was severely injured.

The top floor of the 503 College Ave. chemistry building has several windows knocked out.

The emergency call went out at 2:20 p.m.

More details will be available soon

Related Story: Explosion Rocks MU Campus Explosion injures 4 at MU's Schweitzer Hall