1 person dead, 1 injured after witnesses report explosion at rail car repair facility in Omaha

IndustriesAssociated Press

Omaha authorities say one person is dead and another remains trapped inside a railroad tank car after a reported explosion Tuesday.

GE Capital Rail Services said the incident happened at its repair shop, which is near a BNSF rail yard. A spokesperson said the two men were not GE employees, but worked at Nebraska Railcar Cleaning Services, operated by GE.

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Omaha Fire Battalion Chief Tim McCaw said one man was found on the ground near the tank car. He died at a hospital.

A second worker was trapped inside the tank car after the explosion blew the ladder out of the car. Fire officials were still attempting to recover the man as of 5 p.m. Tuesday, after testing chemicals for a second time. It hasn't yet been determined what types of hazardous materials are in the car, or when it will be possible to get the man out.

McCaw said the extent of the trapped man's injuries was unclear. Firefighters haven't communicated with the man, but have located him within the tank.

An employee at a nearby body shop tells the Omaha World-Herald that he heard what sounded like two trains colliding and then saw flames shooting into the air.

No fires were reported but officials evacuated the area. The cause of the blast remains under investigation.