Discovery Museum Reopens After Flash Fire

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RENO, NV -- The Discovery Museum reopened Thursday, September 4, 2014, less than 24 hours after a tornado demonstration caused a flash fire, injuring 13 people, most of them children. However, many routine museum visitors say they still feel safe.

Samantha Lucia takes her two young sons, Issac and Owen, to the Discovery Museum at least once a week and this week was no different.

"We go to everything they have to offer," she said. "They go room to room and just play and explore and I just kind of follow their lead."

From slides to building blocks, the Discovery Museum prides itself on interactive displays, including science activities. The tornado demonstration was one of them, but that has been suspended for the time being.

"We've actually seen that science experiment," Lucia said. "They thought it was neat. We really enjoyed it. I was surprised to see something went wrong."

There was a chemical reaction that caused a fire. 13 people were injured; eight of those were children. They were transported to a hospital with minor to moderate burns.

"This was just a rare accident," Patrick Turner, a spokesperson from the Discovery Museum, said. "We've done this demo previously to the public for three years."

Turner says safety is always its top priority. The museum was given the clear by authorities to reopen Thursday morning.

"While we are sad about what happened, we wanted to show that the show goes on," Turner said.

The exhibits were still filled with children and parents when the museum reopened. It hasn't stopped many regulars from coming back. "This is still his favorite place to come," said one mother.

"I love the airplane!" said three-year-old.

"I feel safe here," said one father.

"I feel like it's still a great place and it's a place we've always loved, and accidents happen and it's still good," Lucia said.

Authorities determined the cause to be an oversight by the museum presenter who did not follow the correct procedure during the routine tornado demonstration; the employee has been placed on administrative leave.

The museum is back to mostly normal operations.


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