This morning, at a laboratory within the MaRS building on College Street, a member of the research staff in the lab observed that a substance (picric acid) which is stable in liquid form, had dried.  When dry, the substance is explosive so the lab technician reported it to the University Health Network Security number for hazardous materials, and subsequently the Toronto HazMat team and the Fire Department were called.  The Fire Department asked for the assistance of the Police and, as a precautionary measure, the whole building was evacuated at approximately 10:30 a.m.

Police and Fire evaluated the situation and determined that people could reenter the building at approximately 11:30 a.m.

At the direction of the Toronto HazMat team, the evacuation of the whole building took place quickly and no one was injured.

The Vice President, Research at University Health Network – Dr. Christopher Paige -- will hold a debrief on the situation to understand what happened, whether all procedures for the safe handling of hazardous substances were followed, and whether any processes or procedures need to change as a result of this incident.

Dr. Bob Bell, President and CEO of UHN, was thankful that the issue was resolved quickly, that the Fire Department and Police responded in the manner that they did, and that no one was harmed in any way.

"As a research hospital we do work with materials that have a number of properties which could be dangerous," said Dr. Bell.  "We train all staff who work in Research on the proper handling of materials and rely on everyone to keep each other safe.  We will look at what we learn from this situation and change our processes and practices accordingly."

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