A postdoctoral researcher at Tsinghua University was killed in a Dec. 18 fire in a chemistry laboratory on the Beijing campus, according to a university statement on the Chinese microblogging site Weibo.
Local media report that the deceased researcher is Xiangjian Meng, 32. He received a Ph.D. from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore in 2014.
As of C&EN press time, Tsinghua University had not released any details about the incident and former chemistry department chair Xi Zhang did not respond to an e-mail request for information.
The Beijing work safety authority said that the incident happened during an experiment involving hydrogen, reported Xinhua, China’s official news agency, in a Dec. 19 story. Earlier reports that the incident involved tert-butyllithium were incorrect, according to a post from a relative of Meng on Weibo.
Exterior photos and video of Tsinghua’s Ho Tim building taken during the fire and posted online at on.cc show broken windows and heavy black smoke. An interior photo of the lab taken by a Beijing News reporter indicates heavy damage to the lab.
working with hydrogen is flammability. I was reading similar news in ACS’s website. A control laboratory analyst was exposed to hydrogen cyanide, an extremely toxic gas, because there was no provision in her operating procedures to protect [against] such exposure.