10 students treated for exposure to chemical spill at Clark Atlanta University

Channel 2 Action News has learned that the spill happened in the Thomas Cole Research Center.

ATLANTA — At least 10 students were treated for exposure to hazardous chemicals after a spill at Clark Atlanta University on Friday.

Channel 2 Action News has learned that the spill happened in the Thomas Cole Research Center. Investigators initially said two students were injured but later said at least 10 people had to be quarantined and treated for complaints related to the spill.

We're working to learn exactly what happened for updates on Channel 2 Action News at 5 p.m.

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NewsChopper 2 was over the campus Friday morning, where several emergency vehicles were on the scene.

Hazmat crews were still working to decontaminate the building by Friday afternoon. School officials told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that three buildings were evacuated and closed for the day.

Channel 2's Tyisha Fernandes was on campus, where she said students ran out of the building because smoke and fumes filled a hallway.

Fernandes talked to The Atlanta Fire Rescue Department's public information Officer Cortez Stafford, who said crews hired to remove some toxic waste from a lab in the building dropped a sealed container with a potentially dangerous chemical inside.

"It created a small white cloud on the ground, and after that he started telling people to get out of the building," Stafford said.

A total of 10 adult students were taken into another building to get cleaned up. All 10 were studying at the university as part of a summer program. None had life-threatening injuries.

"It appears to be more of a respiratory issue than something actually on the (students) or their skin," Stafford said.


Abdu Dwead was in the building on a different floor when the spill happened and left the building after the fire alarm went off. He was anxious to find out more information.

"Maybe it was a training student," Dwead said. "We don't know right now."

The building will be closed until investigators figure out what spilled.

Fernandes learned that the worker who spilled the container was with a company called U.S. Ecology. Fernandes went to its offices to find out what the company had to say about the spill.

No one would talk on camera, but officials said they are working closely with Atlanta Fire to pinpoint what chemical hazmat crews are dealing with and how to properly clean it up.