U of I reviewing policies after an explosion of rocket fuel test


University of Idaho officials are reviewing policies and procedures, after an explosion during a rocket fuel test that sent four students to the hospital.

It’s business as usual here at this parking lot on the University of Idaho campus. But on Thursday evening, members of the Northwest Organization for Rocket Engineering, a student club, were testing experimental fuel in this parking lot, near the UI steam plant. But something went wrong, and the fuel exploded…. but today, some good news.

“Three of those students have since been released from the hospital, one of them remains, he is in good condition,” said Jodi Walker, Director of Communications.

Moscow police have launched an investigation, with the assistance of the ATF and FBI due to the nature of the incident, but this is not a criminal investigation. Also, the university is conducting a complete review of the incident.

“Understand completely what happened that night, and from that decide if there are any policy changes that need to be made,” said Walker.

What the university knows at this point is the students were testing rocket fuel not intending to launch anything into the air. A pipe between eight and twelve inches, which the fuel was placed in, was put on top of a wooden pallet. When the fuel exploded it exploded both the pipe and the pallet.

“And so there was shrapnel as well as the potential for burns from that,” said Walker.

However, the explosion didn’t damage the building and classes have since continued.

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