Firefighters have been called out to a chemical incident at the University of Canterbury.
A Fire and Emergency NZ representative said a substance in one of the buildings on Forestry Rd became too much to handle.
He says it's under control but they're waiting for the army to arrive with equipment to safely remove the substance.
People are being asked to stand back at the scene.
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A University of Canterbury spokesperson said there was an incident involving picric acid in a secure laboratory in the Biological Sciences building.
They said the chemical was quickly stabilised and no one was harmed or at risk, with only the immediate area needing to be evacuated.
Picric acid is most often used in explosives but has also been used in medicine as an antiseptic and in dyes. It is recommended to store it wet to prevent explosion.
The university spokesperson said two firefighter crews and the bomb squad were send to the campus as a precaution.
As it is mid-year break, most students are away and not due to return until Semester 2 begins on July 13.