Update on fiery train derailment near airport

A photo of the train derailment fire near the Southwest Wyoming Regional Airport on Saturday, June 13, 2020. (Photo credit: Jon Lewis).

SWEETWATER COUNTY, WY (June 14, 2020) – Here are the latest updates on yesterday’s train derailment near the Southwest Wyoming Regional airport, which caused a fire and multiple explosions.

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According to Sweetwater County Fire District #1, there were 30 train rail cars that had actually derailed, not the initial 50 that was originally reported. Of those 30, ten were involved in the fire, which was carrying ethanol and alcohol. A couple of cars had a plastic-type material, hence the dark black smoke which was visible for several hours.

Officials reported that Union Pacific Railroad brought in Hazmat teams and experts from Denver, CO, and Salt Lake City, UT. Those crews worked late into the evening with local resources to mitigate the incident.

The fire was controlled and extinguished around 3:30 am Sunday morning by fire crews and resources from Union Pacific. Those resources, along with local resources, remain on the scene to monitor the ongoing work of the railroad and to monitor the wildland.  Approximately 20-25 acres of wildland burned on BLM land. An accident investigation team from the Department of Transportation Federal Railroad Safety Administration/Accident Investigations is on the ground and already investigating the cause of the incident.

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Fire District #1 is reporting that two deputies received 2nd-degree burns from the large explosion that happened early in the incident. Both have received medical attention from Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County and have been released from medical care.

According to the press release, “Sweetwater County Fire District #1 would like to thank the following agencies for assisting our response to this incident, without their help it would not have been possible for us to safely mitigate this extremely dangerous situation. Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Officers, Wyoming Highway Patrol, Sweetwater Medics Ambulance, Wyoming Department Of Transportation, Sweetwater County Road and Bridge, Southwest Wyoming Regional Airport Fire Department, Southwest Wyoming Regional Airport Director Devon Brubaker, Sweetwater County Fire Department, Rock Springs Fire Department, Wyoming Department of Homeland Security Region #4 Response Team, Bureau of Land Management, and the citizens of our community that dropped off food and water to our responders. This was a team effort and we truly appreciate all of your efforts.”

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