Texas Tech University
Scholarly Messenger
Good Lab Condition Prevents Further Damage from Gas Explosion

An explosion Feb. 27 in the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources (CASNR) Annex building was caused by a natural gas leak outside the building.

“The lab was in a good order with all chemicals stored properly, and that prevented any more damage to the lab or injury,” said Jared Martin, laboratory safety manager in Office of Environmental Health and Safety.

The laboratory belongs to Brad Dabbert, associate professor in the Department of Natural Resources, and is used to prepare biological samples related to his field work.

“The college is extremely concerned about safety in our laboratories,” said Michael Galyean, CASNR dean. “Dr. Dabbert and his students deserve much of the credit for the lab’s condition. Credit also must go to Micah-John Beierle, who is a research associate and is responsible for safety issues in the department.”

Beierle is a member of the CASNR safety committee. Galyean noted that the committee was recently formed to ensure that the college is addressing all pertinent safety issues.

The explosion blew out a portion of the laboratory wall. Apparently a gas leak outside of the building resulted in a buildup of gas behind the wall of the lab next to a light switch, said Martin.

When a graduate student left the lab that evening, he turned off the light and heard an explosion and called emergency personnel. The student was alone in the lab at the time and was not injured.

“The best take-away from this incident is good housekeeping,” said Martin. “The lab was clean and that was the main contributor to preventing further damage.”

For questions about laboratory safety, contact the Office of Environmental Health and Safety at 742-3876 ext. 272 or jared.martin@ttu.edu.