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Science Experiment Goes Wrong at Reno Museum, Injures 13, Mostly Children

Experiment Goes Wrong at  Museum

A demonstration designed to teach children about tornadoes erupted in a chemical flash, injuring 13 people, including mostly children who suffered acid burns on their hands, arms and faces.

Officials said a methyl alcohol and boric acid mixture is used during the exhibition conducted each day to create a whirling tornado effect.

Reno Fire Chief Michael Hernandez said a demonstration that simulates a smoke tornado malfunctioned, causing a “flash” that injured eight children, burning some of them.

Hernandez described the injuries as minor to moderate. Museum patrons were quickly evacuated, he said.

Reno police Officer Tim Broadway said eight children and one adult were transported to the hospital for treatment of acid burns on their hands, arms and faces after the 4:10 p.m. blast at the Terry Lee Wells Discovery Museum in downtown Reno.

Four people were treated and released at the scene.

In addition to the injuries, the building sustained smoke damage, Hernandez said.

A hazardous materials team responded to the scene to ensure the explosion did not spew toxic gases throughout the museum.

“The Discovery would like to thank our staff for their quick response during today’s incident at the museum,” a statement released by the museum reads. “Their actions allowed first responders to attend to museum visitors in a timely manner. We would like to express our gratitude to all first responders that were on the scene within minutes of the incident. Our thoughts continue to be with all those affected today. As this incident is still under investigation, we have no further updates at this time, but will release more information as it becomes available.”

The museum was closed following the incident. A sign on the door indicated it would reopen as scheduled at 10 a.m. Thursday.

Chemical accident at Reno museum injures multiple children

A routine experiment designed to help children understand tornadoes erupted in a chemical flash, injuring 13.

Explosion at Reno’s Discovery Museum Injures 13

A chemical flash resulted from a science demonstration that was supposed to simulate a tornado.

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