Explosion outside UI Van Allen Hall this morning UPDATED: With photos

A University of Iowa vehicle damaged in an explosion sits outside of the loading dock area on the southside of Van Allen Hall Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010 in Iowa City. UI Department of Public Saftey Director Chuck Green said UI Department of Physics and Astronomy instuctor designer, Dale E. Stille, filled eight balloons, four with hydrogen and four with a hydrogen/oxygen mix, then placed them in a university vehicle. Officers said when Stille opened the car’s side door, an explosion resulted.Stille intended to transport the balloons to an off campus location for an educational event where they would have caused the balloons to explode. (Matt Nelson/ SourceMedia Group News)

Updated information:

Dale Stille is resting at home Wednesday after sustaining burns to his eyes.  A representative for Stille told SourceMedia Group that Stille was told his eyes “should be okay.”  Stille declined an interview to discuss what happened Tuesday morning at Van Allen Hall.

Update by John McGlothlen, linking to UI profile page for Dale Stille:

profile and photo of Dale Stille appeared in the April 6, 2009 edition of the University of Iowa’s periodical, fyi: Faculty and Staff News. The article notes,

For the past 23 years, Stille has coordinated instructional resources and outreach activities for the Department of Physics and Astronomy at The University of Iowa.

Stille listed “the hydrogen/oxygen balloon explosions” among his favorite demonstrations.

Original post:

POLICE CORRECTION: NOT A PROF — a staff member, Dale E. Stille. Correct name now confirmed. (Police originally said Edwin D. Stille)

IOWA CITY — University of Iowa police dispatch received a report of a possible car break-in this morning — but once on scene discovered evidence of an explosion.

UI Department of Public Saftey Director Chuck Green said  UI Department of Physics and Astronomy instuctor designer, Dale E. Stille, filled eight balloons, four with hydrogen and four with a hydrogen/oxygen mix, then placed them in a university vehicle.  Officers said when Stille opened the car’s  side door, an explosion resulted.

The actual explosion was not reported to police, but the car damage resulting from the blow was.  Officers said they believe the explosion occurred at approximately 7:30 a.m., this morning.

The reported explosion damaged the vehicle and caused possible first and second degree burns to Stille. Police said Stille was originally taken to Mercy Hospital by a private vehicle then transferred to the University of Iowa Hospital and Clinics Burn Unit.

UI police said they interviewed Stille at the hospital for more information on the incident.

Witnesses reported to police that Stille intended to transport the balloons to an off campus location for an educational event where they would have caused the balloons to explode.

Campus police said Bruce McAvory, the UI fire safety coordinator, the Iowa City Fire Department and investigators with the State Fire Marshal all responded.

A University of Iowa vehicle damaged in an explosion sits outside of the loading dock area on the south side of Van Allen Hall Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2010, in Iowa City. UI Department of Public Saftey Director Chuck Green said UI Department of Physics and Astronomy instructor designer, Dale E. Stille, filled eight balloons, four with hydrogen and four with a hydrogen/oxygen mix, then placed them in a university vehicle. Officers said when Stille opened the car’s side door, an explosion resulted. Stille intended to transport the balloons to an off-campus location for an educational event where they would have caused the balloons to explode. (Matt Nelson/ SourceMedia Group News)


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