most nights, the university’s chemistry lab housed one or two
ambitious students working diligently into the wee hours of the
morning. But tonight, unlike most nights, it was empty. Without
the students, the lab held an eerie quiet. A household
refrigerator, the room’s only occupant, hummed softly against
the south wall.
Chemicals stored inside the consumer-grade refrigerator
slowly exhaled a volatile vapor. Every few minutes the
refrigerator’s defrost timer created a small arc of electricity
inside its housing. This ritual repeated itself many times, yet
the vapor and the arc ignored each other. But at 3:29 A.M. they
met at last. The explosion ripped the refrigerator door from its
latch and hinges. The door hurtled across the room, tore through
a window and began its descent to the parking lot three stories
Back in the lab, a sprinkler system celebrated the happy
union of arc and vapor by inundating the room and its contents
entertaining dramatization is in fact a composite of two events
that occurred on American campuses. The actual accounts can be
found at the link below.
Marvel Scientific Commercial UL Listed
refrigerators and freezers, you are choosing the performance and
safety that is assured by our commercial-tough construction and our
adherence to strict standards. It is unfortunate that in
laboratories worldwide, household refrigerators are pressed into
duties they were not designed to fulfill. When these units operate
inconsistently or fail, consequences can range from inconvenient to
costly to dangerous.
following link contains true accounts which vividly illustrate some
of the many ways a household appliance can fail you in a critical
"Lessons Learned: Flammables in Refrigerators
University and private-sector stories and photos.
Download PDF document that spells out the differences between
Commercial UL listed and household refrigeration units:
Difference is in the UL Listing"
Helpful links concerning laboratory fire prevention:
"Preventing Laboratory Fires"
General fire prevention recommendations from university laboratory
"Only you can prevent lab fires"
Fire safety recommendations for the lab.
Scientific offers three lines of refrigerators to meet your needs:
General Purpose, Flammable Material Storage and Hazardous Location