URBANA — Two people refused medical treatment after in incident in which formaldehyde was released in a room in a University of Illinois building on Monday afternoon.
According to an Urbana Fire Department report, firefighters were called to the Natural History Building, 1301 W Green St., Urbana, at 2:55 p.m. Monday after receiving a report that a bottle of an unknown substance had been broken or spilled.
When the firefighters got there, they discovered that a bottle of formaldehyde had been broken in one of the rooms inside the Natural History Building.
Formaldehyde is a colorless gas with a strong, suffocating odor.
Two people tried cleaning it up, but when the vapor became too strong for them, they called 911.
At least one person complained of irritation to the eyes and nose, but both people refused treatment, according to the police.
After the firefighters consulted with the UI chemical safety division, they decided to leave the room as it was to ventilate naturally, since some of the windows were open to the outside.
While the room was sealed off for the rest of the day, Urbana firefighters anticipate that the room can once again be occupied today.