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Update: No fatalities in University explosion

Frequently Asked Questions regarding the July 5 Argenta Hall Explosion

Post Date:07/07/2019 6:22 PM

July 7, 2019 at 6:22 p.m.: 

Frequently Asked Questions regarding the July 5 Argenta Hall Explosion

What to be aware of going into the week of July 8, 2019:

What happened?

An explosion occurred Friday, July 5, 2019, on campus that damaged Argenta and Nye Halls, two of the University’s residential buildings. Friday’s explosion is believed to have been caused by a possible mechanical failure. There was no fire. Residential Life staff and emergency personnel responded swiftly and comprehensively to secure the buildings and ensure the safety of students and staff. Eight people were treated for minor injuries. The safety of all students, guests and staff is our highest priority.

Read the full FAQs at unr.edu.

July 6, 2019 at 1:09 p.m.: 

Fire and public safety officials said Saturday, July 6, during a press briefing on campus that there were no fatalities following Friday’s explosion that damaged Argenta and Nye Halls.

University Police Services Chief Todd Renwick said there has been confirmation that all students who were staying in Argenta Hall, the more seriously damaged of the two residence halls, have been accounted for. Nye Hall was closed and had no students staying there this summer.

The explosion occurred at 1 p.m. Friday, July 5. Eight individuals were reported to have minor injuries from the blast. They were treated by REMSA and released.

“As of this morning, there are no fatalities,” Renwick said.

Reno Fire Department Chief David Cochran said a quick response that included the pulling of a fire alarm prior to the explosion helped save lives.

“In large part, we have that act (of pulling a fire alarm) to thank,” he said.

State Fire Marshal Bart Chambers said an investigation into the explosion has begun. He said the state’s team is not looking at any criminal intent at this point. More will be known once state fire investigators are able to get to the center of Argenta, where the explosion is believed to have occurred. 

Steve Leighton, operations chief for the Reno Fire Department, said two searches on Friday and a third on Saturday morning of Argenta had left the department confident that “nobody is inside the building. We’re fortunate there are no fatalities.”

Executive Vice President and Provost Kevin Carman said the students affected by Friday’s explosion were relocated overnight to Peavine Hall. In addition, work by the Fire Department’s Urban Search and Rescue Team has begun the process of returning personal belongings from rooms in Argenta to the students who have been displaced. Carman said the people of Student Services and Residential Life have been working “around the clock” in answering questions regarding accommodations, parking and food. 

“We ask that students continue to stay in contact with Student Services for any needs, concerns or questions they have,” Carman said, noting that students who were living in Argenta can call 775-784-1113 or 775-682-8241, or email housing@unr.edu

Carman said that the injured or anyone affected by Friday’s explosion are encouraged to contact the counseling services the University is offering. This includes Counseling Services at 775-784-4648, or the Crisis Call Hotline at 775-784-8090. He added that members of the Education, Psychology and Social Work faculty who have special training in these areas will also be stepping forward to help. “We will look out for each other, we will care for each other, and we will work together to get back to normal on our campus as quickly as possible,” Carman said.

Carman thanked the 21 agencies who were on scene Friday to help with the emergency and response effort, as well as Gov. Steve Sisolak, Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve, Nevada System of Higher Education Chancellor Thom Reilly and Washoe County for their collaborative effort in finalizing an emergency declaration for resources the University will need now and in the coming months.

For ongoing updates about the situation, visit the University's Media Advisories and Statements page. Additional updates will be released as needed.

Note: The link to the press briefing from Facebook Live can be viewed at https://www.facebook.com/UniversityofNevada/videos/2281042925297420/.

July 5, 2019 at 9:21 p.m.:

The Reno Fire Department is continuing its check of Argenta Hall, which received the majority of the damage from today's explosion. Work will continue through the night.

"The City of Reno is thankful for our first responders' quick and professional response to today's incident at the University," Assistant City Manager Bill Thomas said. "Our technical rescue team is on site and working quickly to complete a thorough search. We will continue to assist the University in responding to this emergency."

Nye Hall, which was closed, was searched and no one was in the building at the time of the explosion. 

Students are being relocated to Peavine Hall for a new housing assignment. It is important for students currently living in Argenta to call 775-784-1113 or 775-682-8241 or email housing@unr.edu to confirm whereabouts and safety, and for students to get more information about food and parking. 

At this time, the 1 p.m. explosion is believed to have been caused by a possible mechanical failure. There were eight people treated by REMSA, all with minor injuries. All have been treated and released.

The University is very thankful for the first responders and public safety response efforts and appreciates everyone's thoughts.

July 5, 2019 at 4:26 p.m.:

At 1 p.m. today there was an explosion caused by a possible mechanical failure that damaged Argenta and Nye Halls, two of the University’s student dorms, causing significant damage to the two buildings.
 
There were eight people treated by REMSA, all with very minor injuries. All have been treated and released.
 
The buildings are being checked floor by floor by fire and emergency crews for structural damage and for any remaining occupants. Our main focus is public safety and completing the search of the building. No one is missing.
 
Law enforcement is not looking for suspects. The first small explosion was witnessed by people on scene and was followed by a second larger explosion.
 
Virginia Street and Sierra Street are closed to traffic. If necessary, campus can be accessed from Evans Ave and the public is asked to avoid the area so emergency personnel can work.
 
Governor Steve Sisolak and City of Reno Mayor Hillary Schieve have been briefed and have offered their full support. University Polices Services have been joined by Reno, Sparks and Washoe County emergency crews in response to the incident.
 
Additional updates will be released as information becomes available.
 
Check website to see where students will be relocated. For information call 775-784-1113 or 775-682-8241.

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