Category: train derailment

Dozens of brand-new cars destroyed in ‘spectacular’ Nevada train derailment

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LINCOLN COUNTY, Nevada — Dozens of brand-new cars and pickup trucks were destroyed after 33 train cars derailed near Caliente, Nevada, on Wednesday.

Lincoln County Sheriff Kerry Lee confirmed the crash just after 9:00 a.m. and said it happened about 30 miles from the Utah-Nevada border.

Lee said the crash was the most spectacular mess he has seen, with mostly new Jeep Rubicons and pickup trucks destroyed in the derailment.

County road 4230 from Elgin, Nevada, to Carp, Nevada, is completely closed until Thursday, according to the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, and it will remain partially closed for the next 7-10 days because construction equipment, train cars and debris are blocking the road.

Lee said the train had cars hauling hazardous material but none of those cars were impacted by the crash. A hazmat tanker was two cars away from the derailed section of the train, according to Lee.

Lincoln County borders Utah and Arizona and ends just north of Mesquite, Nevada, on the south side.

Caliente, Nevada, is just over 100 miles from St. George, Utah.

Union Pacific is investigating the cause of the derailment and will turn the results of that investigation to the Federal Railroad Administration.

Thatcher Company’s chemical leak is latest in series of incidents involving facility

SALT LAKE CITY — Thatcher Company’s sulfur dioxide leak Wednesday morning, which affected at least 56 people, is just the latest in a series of incidents involving the company.

For those who have been following the news in Salt Lake City over the past 30 years, the company’s name should sound familiar. Officials with the Salt Lake City Fire Department said the company used to be notorious for spills but has since had fewer incidents needing attention.

Thatcher Company’s most notable case took place in 1991.

According to the Associated Press, the same facility was responsible for a sulfur dioxide spill that affected more than 500 people. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined the company $175,000 and found employees responsible for 13 violations, ranging from serious to willful.

In 1998, a number of cars were contaminated by ferric chloride, which leaked from a Thatcher Company truck.

In September 1999, Thatcher Company released a thick cloud of chlorine into the atmosphere. Crews said the leak occurred when one of the pressurizers had a little too much pressure in it, allowing the excess gas to escape. Paramedics treated about a dozen people for chlorine exposure. At the time, FOX 13 reported this was the sixth incident in the past decade.

In October 1999, witnesses reported a large vapor cloud over the Thatcher Company complex and called 911. Investigators said employees experienced a larger chemical reaction than expected, causing gases to escape.

In 2001, two people were exposed to sulfur dioxide because of a leak at the facility. One of the victims was driving on Interstate 215 when he inhaled the chemical. Another victim, who worked at a neighboring business, was treated for exposure. Police blamed a “mechanical failure.”

In 2003, about 150 people evacuated from six neighboring businesses because of a hydrochloric acid spill. Crews shut down part of I-215. At the time, FOX 13 reported this was the 14th chemical incident at Thatcher Company since 1991.

In 2004, a chemical explosion at Thatcher Company created a scare for employees. One employee was doused with sodium thiocarbonate but was not hurt according to firefighters.

In 2012, the Salt Lake City Fire Department traced an ammonia-like cloud to Thatcher Company’s facility, which shut down segments of Redwood Road and California Avenue.

TJ Harward, who works next to Thatcher Company, said he refuses to drink tap water at work because he’s not sure what types of chemicals might be in the ground. He said he hasn’t experienced anything “too scary” in the past six years.

“Haven’t really had any — anything like this ever happen,” Harward said. “I’ve never been evacuated in the six years I’ve been here… I was just wondering what the heck was going on, and if it was an actual drill or whatnot, because usually when they do drills they have two guys who come in and tell us, ‘We’re doing a drill so don’t be too alarmed.’”

Harward said he did not know about the large sulfur dioxide spill in 1991 or the handful of other cases that have been in the news since.

“Every once in a while you get a little whiff of something, but nothing I guess too scary,” he said.

According to OSHA records, investigators last fined the company in 2011 for two serious violations. FOX 13 is still working on obtaining details on that case.

The Environmental Protection Agency last inspected the company 548 days ago. It started as a routine checkup, with inspectors acknowledging there have been previous violations. Thatcher Company received violations, but FOX 13 is working on obtaining details on that case.

Officials with the Salt Lake City Fire Department said Thatcher Company is “notoriously” responsible for being slow to report incidents.

In this most recent case, firefighters said victims called 911 to report the incident instead of the company. FOX 13 is working on obtaining copies of the 911 calls for further review.

FOX 13 has repeatedly reached out to representatives with Thatcher Company, but we have not received a response thus far.

Train carrying munitions derails east of Elko; I-80 reopened

ELKO, Nev. — More than a dozen cars of a Union Pacific train derailed east of the town of Wells, Nevada, Wednesday morning.

The accident caused a section of Interstate 80 to close for several hours because of the volatile nature of some of the train’s cargo.

According to Elko County Sheriff Aitor Narvaiza, some cars of the train were carrying military grade munitions and chemicals.

“According to the manifest, there was ammunition, grenades, explosives,” Narvaiza said.  “We were pretty lucky to dodge a bullet today.”

After members of the Elko County SWAT team investigated the explosives, it was determined they were not in the cars that derailed.

“If that stuff would have breached, we would have had explosives on the ground,” Narvaiza said.  “If any of those tankers

Photo courtesy Nevada Highway Patrol

would have ruptured, it would have been pretty ugly for anybody on the ground and in the city of Wells.”

Narvaiza said officials with the U.S. Department of Defense arrived on scene to oversee the transport of the items that did not derail to a secure location.

The sheriff said aluminum oxide powder leaked from some of the cars, but it is a non-hazardous skin irritant that can be washed off.

Officials with Union Pacific said the train was headed west from North Platte, Neb. to Roseville, Calif.

A tween from Nevada Emergency Management indicated nine flat cars, two tankers and three box cars derailed.

Investigators with Union Pacific are working to determine the cause of the accident.

Sheriff Narvaiza was informed the NTSB will not be on site to investigate.

No injuries were reported.

It is unclear when the wreckage will be cleared and the tracks repaired.

Eastbound I-80 was closed at mile marker 352 and westbound was closed at mile marker 360, and drivers were detoured onto US 93. The road has since reopened.

Video posted by Michael Lyday on Twitter shows the aftermath of the derailment.

Wells is a small town located between Elko and the Nevada-Utah border.

Thatcher Company’s chemical leak, injuring 56, is latest in series of incidents involving facility

SALT LAKE CITY — Thatcher Company’s sulfur dioxide leak Wednesday morning, injuring at least 56 people, is just the latest in a series of incidents involving the company.

For those who have been following the news in Salt Lake City over the past 30 years, the company’s name should sound familiar. Officials with the Salt Lake City Fire Department said the company used to be notorious for spills but has since had fewer incidents needing attention.

Thatcher Company’s most notable case took place in 1991.

According to the Associated Press, the same facility was responsible for a sulfur dioxide spill that affected more than 500 people. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined the company $175,000 and found employees responsible for 13 violations, ranging from serious to willful.

In 1998, a number of cars were contaminated by ferric chloride, which leaked from a Thatcher Company truck.

In September 1999, Thatcher Company released a thick cloud of chlorine into the atmosphere. Crews said the leak occurred when one of the pressurizers had a little too much pressure in it, allowing the excess gas to escape. Paramedics treated about a dozen people for chlorine exposure. At the time, FOX 13 reported this was the sixth incident in the past decade.

In October 1999, witnesses reported a large vapor cloud over the Thatcher Company complex and called 911. Investigators said employees experienced a larger chemical reaction than expected, causing gases to escape.

In 2001, two people were exposed to sulfur dioxide because of a leak at the facility. One of the victims was driving on Interstate 215 when he inhaled the chemical. Another victim, who worked at a neighboring business, was treated for exposure. Police blamed a “mechanical failure.”

In 2003, about 150 people evacuated from six neighboring businesses because of a hydrochloric acid spill. Crews shut down part of I-215. At the time, FOX 13 reported this was the 14th chemical incident at Thatcher Company since 1991.

In 2004, a chemical explosion at Thatcher Company created a scare for employees. One employee was doused with sodium thiocarbonate but was not hurt according to firefighters.

In 2012, the Salt Lake City Fire Department traced an ammonia-like cloud to Thatcher Company’s facility, which shut down segments of Redwood Road and California Avenue.

TJ Harward, who works next to Thatcher Company, said he refuses to drink tap water at work because he’s not sure what types of chemicals might be in the ground. He said he hasn’t experienced anything “too scary” in the past six years.

“Haven’t really had any — anything like this ever happen,” Harward said. “I’ve never been evacuated in the six years I’ve been here… I was just wondering what the heck was going on, and if it was an actual drill or whatnot, because usually when they do drills they have two guys who come in and tell us, ‘We’re doing a drill so don’t be too alarmed.’”

Harward said he did not know about the large sulfur dioxide spill in 1991 or the handful of other cases that have been in the news since.

“Every once in a while you get a little whiff of something, but nothing I guess too scary,” he said.

According to OSHA records, investigators last fined the company in 2011 for two serious violations. FOX 13 is still working on obtaining details on that case.

The Environmental Protection Agency last inspected the company 548 days ago. It started as a routine checkup, with inspectors acknowledging there have been previous violations. Thatcher Company received violations, but FOX 13 is working on obtaining details on that case.

Officials with the Salt Lake City Fire Department said Thatcher Company is “notoriously” responsible for being slow to report incidents.

In this most recent case, firefighters said victims called 911 to report the incident instead of the company. FOX 13 is working on obtaining copies of the 911 calls for further review.

FOX 13 has repeatedly reached out to representatives with Thatcher Company, but we have not received a response thus far.

Union Pacific Train Derails in Tama County

TAMA COUNTY, Iowa — A Union Pacific train derailed early Wednesday morning in Tama County between Belle Plain and Chelsea — near X Avenue.

Several rail cars are completely off the tracks laying on their sides — and others are crunched together further down.  According to a spokeswoman with Union Pacific, 28 cars were involved, but it doesn’t appear the engine was part of the derailment.

The train was headed to Chicago from North Platte, Nebraska and was carrying sugar and soda ash. The undamaged portions of the train have been removed but there’s no word yet on when the rest of the wreckage will be cleared away.

No injuries were reported.

The cause of the crash is still under investigation.

Police investigate train derailment in Heber

HEBER, Utah – Police responded to an “emergency situation” Saturday morning after a Heber Valley Railroad train derailed.

In a Facebook post, the Heber City Police Department said the train derailed at 650 South 800 West.

According to Tammy Thacker with Heber City Police, the train derailed in a spot where the tracks switch.

After investigation, it appeared the tracks didn’t connect completely which may have caused the train to derail.

There were no injuries reported.

If you are traveling in Heber, police ask that you avoid the area.