Thirteen people, mostly children, were injured after a science experiment exploded at the Terry Lee Wells Discovery Museum in Reno, Nevada, on Wednesday.
A mixture of methyl alcohol and boric acid ignited in a beaker during a “tornado storm” demonstration. Children sitting on the floor near the beaker suffered painful acid burns on their hands, arms and faces. Others suffered smoke inhalation.
Emergency crews were called to the museum at 4:10 p.m. and the building was evacuated, New York Daily News reported.
Eight children and one adult were taken to the hospital. Four were treated at the scene.
One child was hospitalized overnight and is expected to be released Thursday.
Museum visitor Joey Sanchez said he returned to the room with his 3-year-old after they used the restroom and found the area filled with smoke.
"It didn't smell like anything caught on fire, it smelled like burning chemicals," he told The Associated Press, adding: "It was scary, I understand that, but it was an accident."
City of Reno spokesman Matthew Brown said preliminary investigations point to a “chemical flash” that was “similar to if someone threw gasoline on a fire.”
"The injuries were the result of a mishap of a routine museum demonstration that simulates a tornado," the city said in a statement. "Reno Fire Department investigators are working with museum staff to determine what caused the chemical flash."
Photo Credit: Image screenshot/AP, Scott Sonner/AP