Reno Museum Chemical Accident Hurts 13, Mostly Kids

RENO, Nevada — A demonstration about the science of tornadoes went awry Wednesday at a Reno museum, injuring 13 people, most of them children, authorities and museum officials 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.

Reno Fire Chief Mike Hernandez described the injuries as minor to moderate. Broadway said four people were treated at the scene and released. He didn't know their ages. The officials say a methyl alcohol and boric acid mixture overflowed during a routine exhibition that is conducted each day to create a whirling tornado effect. Hernandez said the museum was evacuated, but the building didn't appear to receive any additional damage.

"Our primary focus right now is on Discovery patrons and their safety," Discovery Executive Director Mat Sinclair said in a statement. "All those affected by today's incident continue to be in our thoughts and we are committed to determining the cause of this incident."

Image: Firefighters confer out side the Nevada Discovery Museum in Reno, Nev.
Firefighters confer out side the Nevada Discovery Museum in Reno, Nev., Wednesday Sept. 3, 2014. A minor explosion during a science experiment at the museum burned several children and forced the evacuation of the museum.. Scott Sonner / AP


— The Associated Press and NBC News