University spokeswoman Lauren Sheprow said first responders received a notification around 4:30 p.m. reporting an explosion in a laboratory in the college’s Earth and Space Sciences building. She said the incident happened “during a routine science experiment.” In an e-mail to the campus, officials said the explosion was a result of “an unexpected chemical reaction that occurred during an experiment.” Authorities provided no further details about the incident or the chemicals involved.
Two people were injured and were taken by ambulance to Stony Brook University Hospital – just on the other side of campus – for a medical evaluation. They were said to be in “good condition” late Thursday, university officials said. In a statement, the college identified the victims as a faculty member and graduate student. Their names were not released.
“There doesn’t seem to be any danger to anyone on campus,” Sheprow said in a brief phone interview. She said the building had suffered some structural damage during the explosion and said the damage was being evaluated. Around 8 p.m. Thursday, the building had reopened, but an area of the second floor – near the laboratory where the incident occurred – still remained closed. The college said State University Police officers were being stationed in the area throughout the night.
Final exams are currently underway at the state university, which is located 60 miles east of New York City in Suffolk County on Long Island. The average cost for an undergraduate residential student is $19,358 a year, which includes tuition, fees, room and board, the Associated Press reports. The university – which is split into 13 separate subject-specific colleges – has a student enrollment of more than 24,000.