In a continuation of UTS’s stellar record with on-campus disasters, the university one-upped its previous experiences with collapsed cranes and burst water mains to actual hazard level with a chemical explosion scare.

An acid spill at UTS caused the evacuation of 5000 people from the Broadway campus today, and a temporary closure of Buildings 1, 2 and 4 and major inner-city roads.

Students in the Tower building, and surrounding buildings were evacuated by emergency services shortly after 11am, after authorities found jars of crystallising picric acid, down in the basement level of the Tower building.

The chemical could have been explosive in that state. NSW Police and UTS Security oversaw the evacuation of students away from the main building as authorities stabilised the situation.

The main campus was sealed off by the police and fire brigade and people warned away from the area as a bomb squad was also called in to the site. Harris St and other inner-city roads were closed for a few hours.

After a flurry of updates and lols-ing on Twitter, with Deputy Vice Chancellor, Shirley Alexander posting official updates on the situation, students and staff were given the all-clear and allowed back into the building around 12.30pm. Authorities reported that the chemical was able to be safely removed and taken off-site for disposal an hour into the evacuation.

Students down in the Haymarket campus and in Building 10 were not affected, although there were reports of alarms going off. Nobody was hurt but the hunt for the shady Walter White-esque lecturer begins tonight in the science faculty.

FRANCES MAO