“Residue train” tank car blows up at rail car cleaning company, 2 dead in Omaha

Repost from KETV 7 News, Omaha, NE
[Editor:  Note that “empty” tank cars are NOT empty, and remain volatile and dangerous.  A “residue train” of 50 or 100 “empties” returning along the same tracks as arriving full trains would seem to DOUBLE the associated risk of derailment and explosion.  … KMTV 3 News features witness comments, including one who described the flames after the boom: “I wouldn’t call it a ball – it looked more like a torch.” (…at minute 1:22 of the video)  – RS]

At least one TWO dead after explosion at Omaha rail yard

Apr 14, 2015, 5:31 PM
Click to go to video on KETV website

OMAHA, Neb. — UPDATE: We’re learning more about a fatal explosion in a tank car at an Omaha rail yard Tuesday.

By Tuesday night, officials confirmed two men who were cleaning the tank car had died in the blast near Second and Hickory streets.

EARLIER: At least one person was hurt in a possible explosion Tuesday.

View image on TwitterEmergency crews were sent to the area of Second and Hickory streets around 1:30 p.m. First responders found one man lying on the ground outside the tank car. He was taken in extremely critical condition to CHI Health Creighton University Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

Battalion Chief Tim McCaw said the explosion blew a ladder off the tank car that the workers had been cleaning, trapping a second worker inside. His condition is not known, officials said.

Fire crews were waiting for toxic limits to subside before entering the tank car; however, at this point, McCaw said it will likely be a recovery operation.

The identities of the victims have not yet been released.

GE Capital Rail Services issued the following statement Tuesday:

“We can confirm there was an accident on a track at a railcar repair shop that we operate in Omaha on Tuesday, April 14. We are not in a position to provide details of what caused the incident at this time as an investigative team is on their way to the site to assess the situation. Right now we are focused on the safety of those in the shop and our thoughts and sympathies are with those who were affected by this unfortunate accident.”