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University of Alberta Evacuated Due to Chemical Scare

EDMONTON – A chemical scare at the University of Alberta forced students and staff to evacuate the largest library and a student residence for about two hours Tuesday.

Fire crews were called in to investigate a report of an unconscious person and a chemical release in one of the dorm rooms on the upper floors of the HUB Mall shopping and housing complex.

The complex is linked by an above-ground pedestrian walkway to the Rutherford Library.

University officials said students and staff were notified by alarms, cells and text messages to leave the area.

Fire crews found one person dead in the suite and then checked for the chemical.

“The (hazardous-materials) team measured the air with their instruments, and everything was coming up zero harmful chemicals in the air. There wasn’t a risk to anybody even outside the door of this room,” said Tim Wilson of Edmonton Fire Rescue Services.

Wilson couldn’t confirm the nature of the chemical.

The deceased’s two roommates and the maintenance person who found the body were checked by paramedics and found to be OK, he said.

“Nobody was transported to hospital with injuries or complications.”

The area was ventilated and soon after the site was declared safe.

Police spokeswoman Karen Carlson said they are investigating, but “at this point it appears to be a non-criminal death.”