From the Disassociated Press.


BOSTON, Mass (DP) -- In an apparent suicide, Boston University student Linus Rawling set off a violent chemical explosion in the Pepsi Chemistry building early this morning, killing himself and destroying part of the building. There are no other reported injuries.

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 in laboratories.