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Credit: Sam Mitchell

A liquid nitrogen leak in the Chemistry Building led to an evacuation Thursday afternoon.

At about 12:52 p.m., the Division of Public Safety received a radio call indicating the leak was occurring on the loading dock of the Chemistry Building, Vice President for Public Safety Maureen Rush said. The leak caused a chemical spill alarm to sound. The building occupants were evacuated and Walnut Street was shut down as a precaution.

About two dozen students and faculty stood on the balcony in front of the Chemistry building, located at 34th and Spruce street, at about 1:10 p.m. A fire truck, a police van, and a hazardous materials truck arrived at the scene. A police officer stood at the 34th and Spruce intersection and diverted traffic. 

A rupture in the pipe that brought the nitrogen into the building caused the leak, Rush said. The tank was shut down and repairs were made. 

Rush added that Penn Police, Division of Public Safety Fire and Emergency Services, Environmental Health & Radiation Safety, Philadelphia Fire Department, and Facilities and Real Estate Services rapidly responded to the scene. 

The occupants were allowed back into the building at about 1:25 p.m.

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