Region 51 Emergency Management provides an update on Bailey Yard explosion

The Lincoln County Commissioners had a full agenda on Monday and had some hot-button items to discuss.
Published: Sep. 18, 2023 at 9:05 PM CDT
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NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) - On Sept. 14 at 12 p.m., 911 calls came in from the Union Pacific Bailey Yard regarding an emergency. A rail car had caught fire and then exploded, releasing perchloric acid into the air resulting in evacuations of residents of nearby homes.

On Monday, Region 51 Emergency Management Director, Brandon Myers presented new details along with new drone images that were taken to the commissioners.

“I gave the commissioners what information we had,” Myers said. “Kind of a timeline of things, and showed them some pictures and videos that they were not able to see because they were not there. Now, the next steps are that they want to start doing a commission meeting, maybe start bringing in other stakeholders, and try to find out how we can avoid this in the near future,”

One of those big questions asked by the commissioners was regarding the area and its current condition.

“Everybody, about 5 o’clock that night, was able to return back home and into the area,” Myers said. “So after the harmful chemical was on fire and hit the air, it started dissipating and the farther it got out the less harmful it was and once the fire was out it was no longer an issue.”

The stacker car was located in the back of the yard. This was away from the Union Pacific mainline and about two miles from the Golden Spike Tower. The car was carrying 55 barrels that held 50 gallons of the hazardous material that caused the fire and explosion.

Myers was pleased with Region 51′s response along with many other North Platte emergency response units’ times on reporting to the Bailey Yard.

“I’m very very pleased with it,” Myers said. “North Platte Fire, we actually had quite a bit out there. There was North Platte Fire, Lincoln County Sheriff North Platte PD, Nebraska State Patrol, Nebraska Department of Transportation, Sherman Fire, and Hershey Fire. I think we’re all out there. I mean there were a lot of players we had the Salvation Army and Red Cross involved so it worked pretty good.”

No injuries were reported at the time of the incident and no injuries due to toxic inhalation have been reported. The Federal Railroad Administration is currently investigating what for sure caused such a hazardous material to leak and catch fire.

You can find the Lincoln County Commissioners meeting on their YouTube channel