Independent probe of Hawaii lab explosion expected in May

AP News
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Posted: Apr 27, 2016 7:00 PM

HONOLULU (AP) — The University of Hawaii says an independent investigation into what caused a laboratory explosion that seriously injured a visiting researcher has been delayed by several weeks.

The University of California Center for Laboratory Safety was initially expected to complete its investigation by the end of this month. But the University of Hawaii said Wednesday the center's probe is now expected to be finished in mid-to-late May.

The explosion last month caused the visiting researcher to lose an arm. The researcher told investigators the blast occurred after she turned off a digital pressure gauge she was using to check the pressure in a gas cylinder.

The Honolulu Fire Department has classified it as an accident.

The UC investigation is delayed because the Hawaii State Occupational Safety and Health Division wouldn't allow university officials back into the site of the accident until last week after it finished its own review.

UC investigators were unable to test materials until state officials released the scene.

Meanwhile, a student was hospitalized Wednesday after a ceramic bowl exploded while he was doing a science experiment at his suburban Denver high school.

The student was working with a teacher combining chemicals at Hidden Lake High School when the bowl exploded, injuring the student's hands, Westminster Public Schools spokesman Steve Saunders said.

One of the student's hands required surgery, but the injuries were not considered life-threatening. The teacher wasn't injured.

Classes at Hidden Lake were canceled but are expected to resume Thursday. Tests showed the classrooms are safe, and authorities are investigating.