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Brief leak in Building 13 handled safely

Cambridge Fire Department personnel responded Friday, May 5, to a call to MIT's Building 13.

The cause was a brief leak of silane gas in a lab at about 3:15 p.m. The leak caused sparks, but no injuries and no damage. Used widely in semiconductor manufacturing, silane is a colorless compressed gas that ignites on contact with air.

A graduate student in materials science and engineering who was working in the lab at the time of the leak pulled the alarm immediately.The building was evacuated, and the lab was sealed off until the fire officials arrived. Cambridge officials inspected the lab and turned the clean-up procedures over to MIT's Environment, Health and Safety Office.

Michael Rubner, director of the Center for Materials Science and Engineering and chemical hygiene officer, noted that there had been no reports of toxic gas leaks in the life of the lab.

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