Reno Fire Captain recounts Argenta Hall explosion

RENO, NV (KOLO) Reno Fire Captain Ben Rupert and his crew were the first on scene at Argenta Hall July 5, 2019, following reports of an activated fire alarm. Upon arrival they were told of a small explosion in the basement, and soon after a larger explosion ripped through the dorm building.

"It's so hard to even begin to describe the magnitude of that explosion," Rupert says.

Rupert says he and his crew were sheltered from the blast by their engine.

"That crew, even though they were rattled by an explosion that almost injured if not could've killed them, they recovered, they made sure crews and bystanders were taken care of and they immediately went to work searching for victims," Jeff Voskamp, an acting battalion chief, says.

Rupert, his crew and many other first responders ran toward what everyone else ran from. Rupert says his crew remained calm and focused after the explosion and began searching the building.

"From a fireman's perspective you never want to break down and show emotion but, um.... I told myself I wasn't going to do this but you're thinking about the public here. You want to make sure that they're all right and that's why we're firefighters is to make a difference and save lives," he says.

Copyright KOLO-TV 2019