Thirteen people were injured at a museum in Reno on Wednesday after a scientific experiment gone wrong. The presenters were showing a so-called smoke tornado, but because of a mistaken mixture, the solution exploded. Among the 13 people there were several children affected by the blast. A 911 call was made at approximately 4:10 PM. The Discovery Museum accident obliged the authorities to close the streets surrounding the museum for several hours. The museum has been evacuated. There are no signs of additional damage on the buildings. A special team investigates if the toxic gases have spread throughout the museum.
“Of the 13 injured, four were treated and released and nine were transported to a local hospital,” Reno Officer Tim Broadway said, according to CNN. “There were seven children and two adults taken to the hospital with chemical burns to their arms, hands and face. None of the injuries are life-threatening, but we do not know their exact condition,” he said.
There are no details concerning the children’s ages so far. No child has been involved in the production of the accident, Reuters reports.
The ‘smoke tornado’ experiment has been repeatedly performed before by the presenters. Unfortunately, the combination between alcohol and boric acid turned out to lead to a blast during the Wednesday presentation. The Reno fire chief explained that what happened was a chemical flash.
Allegedly, the two initial experiments went fine, but during the third experiment, the mix ignited when alcohol was poured in. Reno Gazette-Journal reports that Keri Koeckes and her 8 years old son, together with a friend’s daughter witnessed the accident. “It was scary. I’m still shaken up by it,” Koeckes said. “You didn’t expect it to happen. I feel so bad for the families who were affected.” As she was staying in the back, she said she saw how the fire spread in a circle. At the time, the audience was sitting on the floor of the museum.
Discovery Museum claims that preliminary reports lack precision on its Twitter account. “Preliminary reports of an explosion at the museum are inaccurate. A routine science demonstration didn’t happen as usual causing a flash.”
The Discovery Museum accident victims’ state is not life-threatening, as injuries are minor to moderate, according to Reno Fire Chief. One child was hospitalized overnight, according to LA Times. A specialized team investigated the building to make sure the gases have not spread out.