Atlanta GA Explosion: Chemical blast sends 2 Georgia Tech students to hospital
06/02/2010 // West Palm Beach, Florida, USA // Sandra Quinlan // Sandra Quinlan
Atlanta, GA—A chemical explosion occurred outside an Atlanta, Georgia fraternity house early Wednesday, June 2, 2010. The blast left two Georgia Tech students critically injured, according to information provided by WSBTV.com.
Reports indicated two students were mixing chemicals on the back porch of the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity house when the explosion occurred. While a reason for the students’ experimentation was not immediately clear, the mixture was apparently known as thermite.
According to student Michael Parker, “The chemicals you use are just rust powder, which is just rust, and aluminum powder, which isn’t hard to find either and you just light it with a butane torch and it’ll finish off itself.”
The finished product was said to be molten iron, which can reach excessively high temperatures. “You’re talking about temperatures of 1000 degrees Celsius,” Parker noted.
At approximately 1 a.m., however, the students seemingly disregarded the known dangers and conducted their experiment anyway.
There were 15 people inside the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity home when the chemicals ignited, sparking the small explosion.
Captain Joylon Bundrige of the Atlanta Fire Department reported, “They suffered first- and second-degree burns over 40 percent of their upper body, including their chest, arms and faces.”
The students were identified as Tommy Keen and Paul Grzybowski. Keen is a Georgia Tech sophomore studying aerospace engineering. Grzybowski is a junior studying materials science and engineering.
Both were transported to Grady Memorial Hospital in critical condition.
Georgia Tech police officials confiscated the chemicals and other evidence and are expected to conduct a full probe into the off-campus explosion.
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