Officials: Failed Transformer Caused Cleaning Solution to Overheat in Cain Building

By: KBTX Staff Email
By: KBTX Staff Email
  • James A Cain Building located at 1800 Spence
  • Houses numerous labs, classrooms
  • Cain building has 5 floors, including a basement

COLLEGE STATION - UPDATE: Originally the cause was thought to be a malfunctioning circulation pump . But it has now been confirmed that a transformer near the 3D printer ceased to function. The Cain building is being re-opened to the public.

Fire crews say a malfunctioning circulation pump triggered an automatic fire alarm Wednesday morning on the Texas A&M campus.

Before 7 a.m., firefighters were called to the James A Cain building on Spence Street for a potential haz mat situation. When they went inside the building, crews discovered that a machine used to clean the parts of a 3D printer malfunctioned. The circulation pump moves a solution that contains sodium hydroxide.

Officials believe there was a problem with a transfromer that caused the solution to overheat. That sent fumes into a room on the third floor. The building was evacuated.

An emergency alert was broadcast over televisions alerting the community that the building would be closed until further notice.

At 7:55 a.m., Texas A&M sent out a Code Maroon message saying that there is a Chemical Spill at James Cain/Engineering Physics. The building is shut down. The message also asked that people avoid the area.

Firefighters are using high pressure fans to ventilate the building. They detected high levels of carbon monoxide near the room on the third floor.

The Cain building was formerly called the Engineering Physics Laboratory Building. According to an A&M website, Cain supports teaching and research activities associated with the departments of mechanical engineering and physics.

The facility has five floors, including a basement level, totaling 136,620 square feet. The building is home to 12 mechanical engineering and 11 physics laboratories; 17 classrooms for general university classes; and the ASME student chapter office.

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