Police and firefighters at the scene of the Discovery Museum in Reno. / Tim Dunn, Reno Gazette-Journal
RENO, Nev. - A science experiment went awry at the Terry Lee Wells Discovery Museum, creating a chemical flash that injured up to 13 Wednesday, officials said.
Of those 13, eight children and an adult were transported to Renown Regional Medical Center, the city said in a statement.
Primary injuries include minor burns and minor smoke inhalation, the statement said.
Four people were treated at the scene and released, Reno police officer Tim Broadway said earlier.
Reno Fire Chief Michael Hernandez said it was a routine experiment involving the simulation of a tornado that is conducted daily at the museum, 490 S. Center St.
The officials said a methyl alcohol and boric acid mixture caught fire during a routine exhibition that is conducted each day to create a whirling tornado effect.
Authorities received a 911 call about 4:10 p.m.
"A routine science demonstration didn't happen as usual causing a flash," the Discovery Museum wrote on its Twitter account.
Keri Koeckes was at the museum with her son, age 8 and her friend's daughter age 11.
"It was scary. I'm still shaken up by it."
"You didn't expect it to happen. I feel so bad for the families who were affected," Koeckes said.
Everyone was sitting on the floor for the presentation, Koeckes said.
Koeckes, her son, and friend's daughter sat in the back. They did two demonstrations that went fine, and then when they did the third demonstration they poured alcohol on it and it ignited, Koeckes said.
The fire spread in a circle radius, Koeckes said.
The incident remains under investigation.
In its tweet, the Discovery Museum said that "Preliminary reports of an explosion" were inaccurate.
"Our primary focus right now is on Discovery patrons and their safety," Mat Sinclair, executive director for The Discovery 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."
No serious damage was reported to the building.
Renown staff indicated that one child would remain in the hospital for observation and would likely be released soon, the city's statement said.
Contributing: The Associated Press
Copyright 2014USA TODAY
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