Fridge door blows off during explosion, breaks window at USF Tam - WFLA News Channel 8

Fridge door blows off during explosion, breaks window at USF Tampa lab

Posted: Updated:
Hazmat crews responded to reports of an explosion at a USF lab Hazmat crews responded to reports of an explosion at a USF lab
TAMPA, FL (WFLA) -

A refrigerator door is to blame for an early-morning explosion call at the University of South Florida Tampa. Tampa Fire Rescue says the door blew off the fridge in a USF research lab and shattered a window. But, investigators do not believe chemicals caused the explosion.

A line of fire trucks filed into the USF research park at around 2:45 Wednesday morning. Shortly before, a fire alarm had gone off inside a laboratory at the Research and Innovation building. At the same time, a campus police officer reported hearing an explosion.

When crews came on scene, they found a double paned window had shattered. Officials say the door blew off, flew about 15 feet, and shattered the window.

"I have not seen a refrigerator door blow up but stranger things have happened," Tampa Fire Rescue spokesman Jason Penny said.

Scientists from the lab came to help investigators. And while the refrigerator stored chemicals, officials do not believe they were to blame for the explosion.

"From what they're telling us, there's no harmful chemicals. In fact, inside the refrigerator, they said it wasn't even any sort of harmful chemicals inside that refrigerator," Penny said. "The Chief Science Officer who showed up thinks that it was the faulty refrigerator."

Just in case, officials vented the room after smelling a chemical odor.

"There was no harmful chemical breakage or spillage inside there," Penny said. "There was a faint odor that you could smell that smelled like chemicals."

As daylight approached, a clear view of the damage was visible. The glass was shattered and a white refrigerator door was near the window. Investigators from the State Fire Marshal's office continued their work, but for now officials do believe the refrigerator was to blame.

There were no injuries in the incident, which caused minor damage to the lab.

The laboratory was leased to a company called Intezyne which specializes in cancer research.

"We are relieved no one was hurt, and we would like to thank the Tampa Fire Rescue and the USF Police Department for their rapid assistance. We are very impressed with the speed at which they assessed the situation and got everything under control," said an Intezyne spokesperson.

The lab is closed for repairs and cleanup and is expected to reopen Friday.

Copyright WFLA 2014. All rights reserved.


  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • Community reaches out to Spring Hill family after theft of lawn equipment

    Community reaches out to Spring Hill family after theft of lawn equipment

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 8:45 AM EDT2014-09-02 12:45:21 GMT
    Michael Depace wants to say "thank you" and give a huge hug to everyone that reached out after a thief stole $3,500 worth of lawn equipment from him.
    Michael Depace wants to say "thank you" and give a huge hug to everyone that reached out after a thief stole $3,500 worth of lawn equipment from him.
  • FL vehicle registration renewal fees drop

    FL vehicle registration renewal fees drop

    Monday, September 1 2014 11:48 AM EDT2014-09-01 15:48:49 GMT
    That little gift you get from the state on your birthday every year, to renew your car tag, is going to be cheaper starting Monday.  The cut will save drivers about $13 to $25 depending on the size of their vehicle.
    That little gift you get from the state on your birthday every year, to renew your car tag, is going to be cheaper starting Monday.  The cut will save drivers about $13 to $25 depending on the size of their vehicle.
  • Mold takes over St. Pete condo, creeps into neighbors' homes

    Mold takes over St. Pete condo, creeps into neighbors' homes

    Friday, August 29 2014 5:48 PM EDT2014-08-29 21:48:06 GMT
    Josephine Ramos is literally sick about the toxic black mold growing in the St. Petersburg condominium beside hers. She's been feeling ill for months with headaches and breathing problems. Recently, she had peak inside the condo next doors and couldn't believe her eyes.
    Josephine Ramos is literally sick about the toxic black mold growing in the St. Petersburg condominium beside hers. She's been feeling ill for months with headaches and breathing problems. Recently, she had peak inside the condo next doors and couldn't believe her eyes.
  • NewsMore>>

  • Explosion at beverage packaging facility in Lakeland

    Explosion at beverage packaging facility in Lakeland

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 9:51 AM EDT2014-09-02 13:51:15 GMT
    An explosion at a Lakeland beverage packaging facility sent a 60,000-pound boiler onto a CSX railroad track Tuesday morning.
    An explosion at a Lakeland beverage packaging facility sent a 60,000-pound boiler onto a CSX railroad track Tuesday morning.
  • Pasco County couple survive a week adrift at sea

    Pasco County couple survive a week adrift at sea

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 9:16 AM EDT2014-09-02 13:16:33 GMT
    A Pasco county couple is recovering after spending a week adrift in the Gulf of Mexico. They were trapped 80 miles off shore without any food and very little water for seven days.
    A Pasco county couple is recovering after spending a week adrift in the Gulf of Mexico. They were trapped 80 miles off shore without any food and very little water for seven days.
  • Tampa daycare set to reopen after crash

    Tampa daycare set to reopen after crash

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 8:48 AM EDT2014-09-02 12:48:16 GMT
    A Tampa kindergarten and daycare center is set to reopen four days after a suspected drunk driver crashed through the wall into a classroom.
    A Tampa kindergarten and daycare center is set to reopen four days after a suspected drunk driver crashed through the wall into a classroom.
  • Sign up for WFLA News Channel 8 Email Alerts

    * denotes required fields






    Thank you for signing up! You will receive a confirmation email shortly.
Powered by WorldNow

200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

Telephone: 813.228.8888
Fax: 813.225.2770
Email: news@wfla.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.