Boiler explosion triggered natural gas blast at Nevada dorm

RENO, Nev. (AP) — Nevada’s state fire marshal says a small explosion in a basement boiler at a University of Nevada, Reno dormitory caused a natural gas leak that triggered a much larger blast last week, severely damaging two dorms and injuring eight people.

Fire Marshal Bart Chambers said Tuesday the initial explosion occurred Friday afternoon while a contractor was working on a boiler that had suffered mechanical problems and was shut down earlier last week. The cause of that first explosion remains under investigation.

The larger blast blew out walls and windows in Argenta and Nye halls. Both have been determined to be structurally sound but are expected to remain closed for at least a year.

University officials say they’re trying to establish living arrangements for about 1,300 students for the fall semester, including the possibility of housing some at nearby hotel-casinos.

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