Contractor at UCF burned during chemical reaction, officials say

Campus operations not impacted

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - A contractor at the University of Central Florida suffered burns as a result of a chemical reaction on Monday, according to Orange County Fire Rescue officials.

A university spokeswoman said the incident happened at about 3:07 p.m. in a building on campus that is designed to handle chemicals.

The 29-year-old was the only person inside the building at the time of the reaction. No other students or staff were affected.

OCFR public information officer Mike Jachles said the man was transferring chemicals from a 55-gallon metal drum into a plastic container for proper disposal when there was a static discharge that ignited a spark.

The chemicals included aluminum, chromium, magnesium and other metal powder chemicals.

Firefighters used dry chemicals to extinguish the fire. The victim suffered considerable burns to his face, chest and arms.

"He's very fortunate that he was wearing goggles. He very well could have been blinded, had he not," Jachles said.

The man was taken to Orlando Regional Medical Center to be treated for burns. He was conscious and alert when first responders arrived.

At last reading, the barrel was 140 degrees Fahrenheit, which was down from the initial reading of 200 degrees.

Once the barrel is deemed safe, the scene will be turned over to the university for clean up.

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