The explosion shakes the neighborhood of Ann Arbor after the rocket club’s experiment went wrong
(Updated April 30 at 3:20 p.m.)
ANN ARBOR, MI – Ann Arbor residents who live on the north side of town were shocked Thursday night when a University of Michigan student organization’s rocket experiment suddenly went wrong and exploded, causing a small fire at the testing site.
The group conducted an experiment related to their academic studies on the University of Michigan property in a large shipping container in a field on the southwest corner of Green and Plymouth Road of the University of Michigan Division on Thursday, April 29 at 10:15 p.m. of Public by Deputy Police Chief Melissa Overton said.
An error occurred during the test that caused an explosion and a small fire in the container that was put out by the Ann Arbor Fire Department, Overton said.
“It could have been really bad, but we’re very happy it didn’t,” said Ann Arbor Fire Department chief Mike Kennedy.
The explosion, which has been described as a pressure blast, was felt by residents near the area, many of whom went on Facebook and Twitter to find out what happened, Kennedy said.
No injuries were reported and only the container and its contents were damaged in the incident, Overton said.
It is not believed that anyone was warned of the incident prior to the experiment, Kennedy said.
“Doing something like this near a populated area is just a bad idea,” he said.
The experiment included ethanol as well as pressurized gas cylinders, each filled with oxygen, nitrogen, and helium, Kennedy said.
A representative from the University of Michigan Communications said the students made notification calls to campus police and the Ann Arbor Fire and Police Department around 9: 18-9: 21 on the day of the test, according to the security protocol.
The root cause of the incident as well as a review of the safety logs are under review by the university’s College of Engineering and the Department of Environment, Health and Safety, Overton said.
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