13 Treated After Chemical Leak At Colorado College

Emergency crews responded to Olin Hall on the campus of Colorado College today for a hazmat emergency.
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A chemical leak forced a portion of Colorado College to evacuate, with 13 people ending up at the hospital.

Two people had to be rescued after chemical exposure left them unable to walk.

After the alarms went off, "we thought it was a drill," one student told 11 News. But as HAZMAT crews in full gear moved in, it quickly became evident something serious was going on.

The leak began in the basement at Olin Hall, exposing students and staff to titanium tetrachloride, a chemical that turns to hydrochloric acid when it reacts to moist air, giving off a dangerous gas. Titanium tetrachloride can be very irritating to the skin, eyes, mucous membranes and the lungs. Breathing in large amounts of titanium tetrachloride can injure the lungs, causing chemical bronchitis or pneumonia and possibly death.

Students tell 11 News the chemical is only used in upper level chemistry classes.

HAZMAT was on scene for hours, decontaminating the building and working to make sure all those exposed were treated. A spokesperson for Colorado College tells 11 News that all buildings will be open for normal operations on Thursday.

We are waiting college officials to confirm exactly what caused the incident. According to officials with the Colorado Springs Fire Department, it was an accident and police will not be investigating.

As of Wednesday night, one person still remains in the hospital recovering from exposure to the chemical. The others have been released.