Train carrying explosives and hazardous materials derails

A train carrying munitions and hazardous material derailed in Elko County, Nevada, on June 19.

Nevada Highway Patrol said the derailment involved around nine flat cars, two tankers and three box cars, but the number that went off the tracks has not been confirmed. No injuries were reported at the time of the story going to press.

Rear cars thought to be carrying munitions, hand grenades, sodium nitrate and bombs stayed on the tracks, according to public safety officials in Elko. However, a white powdery substance was released into the air following the crash, leading to the temporary closure of I-80. The cloud was reported to be aluminum oxide, a skin irritant that is not hazardous but needs to be washed off if it comes in contact with skin, the Highway Patrol said.

Earlier Wednesday, an Elko County Sheriff's official said a decontamination process was underway as a precaution for those who may have been exposed.

"Preliminary information shows the derailed cars were not carrying hazmat; however, there is hazmat and ammunition on board the train," spokeswoman Kristen South said Wednesday afternoon. "No one was hurt, and Union Pacific is working on site cleanup.”

A timeline for completion was not known at the time, and the cause of the derailment is under investigation, she said.

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