The Leading News & Information Service For The Facilities, Workplace & Built Environment Community

Bristol Bomb was Chemical Blunder

17 February 2017 | Updated 01 January 1970

Earlier this month, Bristol University was forced to put its contingency and evacuation plans in to action as fire fighters and bomb disposal experts were called in - why has just become clear - an unstable and explosive substance had been created at the university lab.

According to a statement sent to ThisWeekinFM, the university were aware that a particular experiment can produce an explosive and have procedures in place for when it happens.

The statement reads: 'Following a full investigation since the incident, we can confirm that the chemical, triacetone triperoxide (TATP), was unintentionally formed during a routine procedure carried out by a PhD student. The student was following a published literature method and the risk of TATP as a potential by-product had been identified during the risk assessment process.

'We have robust contingency plans in place to deal with incidents of this nature. As soon as the presence of TATP was identified the student immediately notified those responsible for laboratory safety in the school. A series of actions were then taken which resulted in the precautionary evacuation of the chemistry building and surrounding buildings and the controlled disposal of the substance by the emergency services.

'No one was injured. The School of Chemistry's risk assessment process is being reviewed to determine whether additional checks can be made when future, similar work is planned.'

Not so calm

Although the written statement from the university suggests a calm and ordered response, four fire engines and the Avon Fire & Rescue Service’s Environmental Response Unit attended the incident. The building was evacuated along with others in the vicinity and a safety cordon put in place around the facility. The Army's Explosive Ordnance Disposal team also attended and carried out a controlled explosion at about 7:00pm.


Triacetone triperoxide has been used by terrorist attackers in Brussels and Paris.

Picture: With thanks to Alex Boulton of Epigram - Bristol University Press

Article written by Brian Shillibeer | Published 17 February 2017


Related Articles

Countering Terrorism The Hard Way

A new type of concrete, which could significantly lower the number of deaths during bomb blasts, earthquakes and other disasters, is being developed by an expert from...

 Read Full Article
Keystone Cops - Dim Squad Call Bomb Squad

A not so controlled explosion took place outside Workington Police Station on the morning of Thursday 2 (8:00am), destroying a 'suspicious' vehicle. However the...

 Read Full Article
UK Government Publishes Facilities Management Strategy

The government has released a guide to establishing a coordinated and aspirational FM strategy. In the document, Alex Chisholm, Chief Operating Officer for the Civil...

 Read Full Article
Winter Flu – 'Perfect Storm’ Could Cause Business Closures

Experts are predicting widespread staff absence rates this autumn due to a “perfect storm” of COVID-19 and early flu season. This so-called “perfect...

 Read Full Article
Saharan Dust Moves Across UK

A storm carrying Saharan dust is causing hazy skies and layers of orange-coloured dust across southern England.   What is Saharan Dust?   Saharan...

 Read Full Article
Storm Eunice – Met Office Announces Red Weather Warning

A rare red weather warning for parts of the southwest has been issued by the Met Office, as significant gusts in excess of 90mph are expected. Latest warnings are...

 Read Full Article
Omicron Variant – What are the Facts?

It remains unclear how much of a threat the new Omicron COVID-19 variant poses, so what are the definitive facts? On 26 November 2021, the World Health Organisation...

 Read Full Article
What is Plan B and What Does it Mean For Workplaces?

Detailed in the UK Governments Autumn and Winter Plan, option B could see the re-introduction of masks and other restrictions. What does this mean for the newly...

 Read Full Article
What Does the PM's COVID-19 Winter Plan Mean for Employers?

Prime Minister Boris Johnson recently laid out his COVID-19 winter response plan to the public, but how will it impact existing working policies? The winter...

 Read Full Article
'Fuel Crisis' Leads to Spike in EV Interest - How Can Businesses Prepare?

In light of fuel supply issues throughout the UK, more drivers than ever are considering electric vehicles. Car sales website carwow recorded that searches for EVs on...

 Read Full Article