Two Ivy Tech students suffered minor burns when a chemistry experiment overheated during a class Tuesday afternoon, officials said.
The class was conducting an experiment that involved using a hotplate to heat sugar and potassium nitrate, said Andrew Welch, a spokesman for the community college.
For some reason, the hotplate became overheated, and the substance combusted, instructor Provi Mayo said.
“The sugar just got caramelized too fast,” she said. “It just went poof.”
The substance boiled out of its container, burning two students and filling the lab with smoke, Battalion Chief Brian Meeks of the Fort Wayne Fire Department said.
The bungled experiment, which occurred about 4:30 p.m. in the Student Life Center, triggered an alarm that caused the building to be evacuated, Mayo said.
Medics took one of the two students to St. Joseph Hospital to be treated for a minor burn; the second student was treated at the scene.
Fire officials were investigating the case, which did not create hazardous fumes.
Potassium nitrate is used to pickle meat and to make fireworks and fertilizer.