From the Disassociated Press
MAN BLOWS UP SELF, LAB
, Mass (DP) -- In an apparent suicide
Boston University student Linus Rawling set off
a violent chemical explosion in the Pepsi
building early this morning, killing himself and
destroying part of the building. There are no other
At 2am this morning firefighters responded to a
911 call reporting a loud explosion at the Pepsi
Chemistry building which houses several laboratories
as well as a few offices and classrooms. Upon their
arrival they worked quickly to extinguish the fire.
At 4am they were able to inspect the wreckage. It was
then that the body of Mr. Rawling was found.
Linus Rawling was a 25 year old graduate student
in the chemistry department at Boston University.
According to his estranged fiancee, who wishes to
remain anonymous, Mr. Rawling had suffered a mental
or emotional breakdown in the past 4 months, claiming
to be terrorized by voices within the laboratory.
"At first I just thought he was angry with his
co-workers," his fiancee said. "He'd complain about
how 'they' didn't like him, how 'they' were out to
get him. Slowly I began to realize he wasn't talking
about people, but the chemicals. He took all of our
soaps and cleaning fluids out of the house, and we could
only eat organic fruits and vegetables. He couldn't
stand to go to work, and when he did he started breaking
vials and beakers."
Apparently last night's explosion was the culmination
of a growing paranoia. Dr. Rudolf von Steinhauerbergstrom,
a psychiatrist at St. Elegius, said that such paranoia could
caused by an extreme case of chemophobia.
"While most cases of chemophobia realize themselves through
a subconscious repulsion of chemicals similar to a violent
allergic reaction, the fear of chemicals in this unfortunate
young man seems to have erupted through his entire psyche,"
Dr. Steinhauerbergstrom said. "His fear manifested itself
in the voices and threats he must have heard when he came close
to a chemical substance. Such a person, when surrounded by
walls filled with chemical powders and solutions would have
felt surrounded. He would experience panic, shortness of
breath, and eventually be driven to take drastic action."
The damage to the building is estimated to be around
$500,000. It will remain closed for the remainder of
the semester while repairs are underway.
But no one can repair the fragile body which housed
Mr. Rawling's tortured spirit. Environmentalists and
politicians are rallying today in support of legislation
which would put stricter limits on who has access to
chemicals and how many chemicals can be stored in one
area. The campaigns of Vice President Al Gore and
Texas Governor George W. Bush have both issued press
releases detailing their plans to curb the use of chemicals