Home / National News / Thirteen Hurt in Science Demo 'Flash' at Reno Museum


(RENO, Nev.) — At least 13 people, including eight children, were injured after a science project mishap at the Discovery Museum in Reno, Nev. Wednesday, police said.

Dramatic video captured by a museum visitor shows the moment the demonstration went awry.

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

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

Reno Police officer Tim Broadway said the injured included seven children and two adults who were transported to a hospital. Four people were treated and released at the scene.

Jackie Rider was filming with her cellphone when the accident occurred. Rider’s video shows an instructor reaching for a bottle, adding liquid to the chemical mixture.

“You know what I didn’t add, the alcohol?” the woman says, opening the bottle. “You guys were just … I was so excited. So excited. OK, ready?”

As she pours the liquid, a fireball forms, and the children are seen running away, screaming.

Rider’s daughters, ages 4 and 6, were treated with second-degree burns, while her nephew suffered first-degree burns, ABC affiliate KOLO-TV reports. Her niece was hospitalized with third-degree burns on her face.

“She was on fire, completely on fire – her hair, her back, her face,” Rider said of her niece. “My best friend actually tackled her and was putting her face out with her hands.”

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

“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.

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