Debbie Knight

What do you mean it doesn’t fit?!

In observation on August 29, 2012 at 9:30 am

This is a biosafety cabinet or as we call it in the lab a “hood.” This particular one was slotted to be moved from the fourth floor to the basement.

But before we could have it moved, we had to have it decontaminated since some of the things that were cultured in the hood were possibly infectious to humans. This involved calling in a company to fill the inner chamber with formaldehyde to essentially “fix” (or kill) anything that might be harmful to any humans that might come in contact with the biosafety cabinet. Once completed, they stuck a sign on it.

So the movers came. No way we could move this behemoth ourselves. Biosafety cabinets, especially this one,  are built like tanks — they’re pretty substantial. But this particular one is not only extremely heavy, it is tall. Some hoods have retractable legs, but not this one. What you see is what you get. And as I recall, the movers had a heck of a time moving the hood into the lab many years ago.

The movers were rather resourceful. None of their typical dollies would work — they made the hood too tall to pass through the doorway. So, the movers used a pair of gloves and some cardboard to act as “sliders” to squeeze the hood out of the lab.

They then put the hood on “cup dollies” and scooted it down the hall — seemingly with ease.

They loaded it into the freight elevator and rolled it down the basement hallway.

All was going well, so of course there had to be a “catch.”

The “catch” in this case was: the basement doorways are slightly shorter than those in the rest of the building.

Who knew?!

Never-to-say-the-least, no matter how hard the movers tried, the hood was not going to go into the basement lab.


The movers had to load the hood back on the freight elevator and haul it back to the fourth floor.

The hood now sits in the hallway, facing the wall like a child in time out, until we figure out another place to store it.

So, lesson learned: basement doorways tend to be shorter than other doorways — at least in vintage university buildings.


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