Reno Fire Officials Say Oversight by Presenter Led to Flash Fire - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Reno Fire Officials Say Oversight by Presenter Led to Flash Fire

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Firefighters are blaming an employee's error for a flash fire that injured 13 people during a Nevada science museum's demonstration about tornadoes.
 
Reno fire officials said a three- to five-second blaze erupted Wednesday after the museum presenter poured alcohol on a cotton ball that had been dusted with boric acid and partially ignited.
 
Officials say the alcohol is supposed to be applied before the boric acid and the flame.
 
The demonstration is designed to create a small tornado out of green smoke.

Authorities say eight children and one adult were taken to Renown Regional Medical Center for minor burns or smoke inhalation, and four people were treated on site. Reno police said several children suffered acid burns on their hands, arms and faces. 

One child remained in the hospital in good condition Thursday.

In a statement, The Discovery says "the employee has been placed on administrative leave pending completion of the full investigation. The Discovery continues to cooperate fully with authorities.”

Despite what happened, a steady flow of visitors visited the museum the next day.          

Steve and Shirley Lay brought their 2-year-old granddaughter to the Discovery museum. This is their first time back after yesterday's flash fire cut their first visit short. “We were in the 2 to 5 year-old room and I just happened to look out through the windows and I saw people grabbing their children and running,” said Shirley Lay. “I could see the smoke so I decided we probably should get our little girl and also head out.”

The Lays say they'll be back. “Oh gosh yea, and we've got another one that's going to be her age in two years that's brand new, so she'll be here too,” said Steve Lay. “It'd be like people not wanting to drive cars cause of accidents, I mean stuff happens.”

Amateur video of the accident shows a ball a fire falling to the floor as children sitting nearby scramble for cover.

Museum officials say special training is required in order to do demonstrations like this one. “There is a very rigorous training regimen that is gone through with our educators before we introduce a demonstration to the floor,” said Communications Manager Patrick Turner.

The museum could not provide further details about the training but the fire department is in the process of reviewing the demonstrations and safety procedures. They plan to conduct follow-up meetings with Discovery Museum staff.  “Part of the review of this incident and the event investigation will require us to look at everything on the floor in regards to visitor safety,” said Turner.

The tornado demonstration is no longer going on at Discovery. The museum will decide after the investigation whether or not that demonstration will be continued.

(The Associated Press and City of Reno contributed to this report.)
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