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Fumes flash burns graduate student

A graduate student suffered first-and second-degree burns to both forearms and her right hand after fumes exploded when fumes ignited from an apparently empty solvent bottle on Tuesday, MIT officials reported.

Jerry Diaz, director of the Safety Office, said Sarah Aeilts, a graduate student in chemistry, was working alone in her lab in Rm 18-165 when the fumes from a brown 4-liter bottle of pentane created a flash explosion a few minutes after noon. Her hair was singed during the flash, Mr. Diaz said.

Ms. Aeilts was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital by ambulance, treated in the emergency room and released Tuesday afternoon.

The building was evacuated for about 35 minutes and Cambridge Police closed Ames Street and Main Street briefly in order to allow Cambridge fire trucks to respond. There was no damage to the lab.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on September 25, 1999.

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