Utilities explosion damages dorm at University of Nevada, Reno

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A utilities explosion caused the partial collapse of a dormitory at the University of Nevada, Reno. Windows were blown out, the building was evacuated and there was about 2 feet of water in the basement.

Eight people were injured. Six were treated on scene and two were transported to a nearby hospital, said Steve Leighton of the Reno Fire Department. All were released by 5 p.m. PT, said Reno spokesman Jon Humbert.

The building suffered “severe damage,” Humbert said. A nearby building was also damaged. No one was inside the building at the time of the explosion, and the people injured were likely outside, Humbert said. 

University police said classes on the main campus were canceled for the rest of the day, CBS Reno affiliate KTVN reported. 

“We are lucky that today with a light day coming after a holiday that we really didn’t have anybody in those halls,” said Todd Renwick, the university police chief.

Officials had not determined the specific cause of the explosion but said it was the result of some kind of mechanical failure in the basement of the seven-story building.

Firefighters arrived at the building after a small blast and were there when a bigger explosion damaged Argenta Hall, Leighton said. The explosion also damaged Nye Hall which is attached to Argenta Hall.

Raven Green, a 19-year-old student, said she was in her room watching Netflix when she heard a loud boom and felt the building shake. When she opened her door, she could hardly see in the hallway that was full of smoke and debris, with water spraying everywhere.

“It was very scary,” she said.

Green said she had climbed over doors and pieces of drywall but found the stairs broken. She raced back to her room to get out of the smoke and called 911 for help. She was later evacuated.

Sophomore Raymond Floyd was in his room across the street in Peavine Hall studying for a calculus final when he heard a loud noise. At first he dismissed it as someone slamming a door. Then the fire alarm went off.

About 10 minutes after his building was evacuated, he said there was a “much bigger and louder” explosion. “I could see smoke and shrapnel in the air and parts of the roof flying off.”

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