WESTWOOD—A UCLA chemistry professor, Patrick Harran, accepted responsibility on June 20 for the conditions of the laboratory fire that caused the death of 23-year-old research associate “Sheri” Sangji.
Sangji was conducting an experiment when an air sensitive chemical burst in flames resulting in burns over half of her body. At the time, she was not wearing a protective lab coat. She was taken to the hospital, but died 18 days later from her injuries.
Professor Patrick Harran, 44, admitted that he was the supervisor of laboratory on December 29, 2008 when the incident occurred. In a statement to the court, Harran said that he was “ultimately responsible for the safety of personnel in my laboratory.”
According to a press release by the District Attorney’s Office, Harran has to follow the terms of settlements in order for the charges to be dropped.Harran has to develop and teach an organic chemistry course to help high school graduates to prepare for organic chemistry college level class. Harranmust also teach the course for seven weeks every summer for five years, under the terms of settlement.
He is required to complete 800 hours of non-teaching hours of community service at the UCLA Hospital or at the UCLA Health Services. He also has to pay a $10,000 fine.
All charges will stay pending against Harran until he completes the terms of settlement. He is also facing four felony counts that include willful violation of state Labor Codes to establish, implement and maintain an effective injury and illness prevention program and failure to require workers to wear clothes appropriate body protection when exposed to hazardous substances.
Deputy District Attorney Craig Hum and Marguerite Rizzo are in charge of the case against Harran.