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Nevada Department of Public Safety, via AP

I-80 reopens after hazardous material spill, train derailment in Nevada

By The Associated Press | Updated - Jun. 19, 2019 at 5:42 p.m. | Posted - Jun. 19, 2019 at 12:41 p.m.

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WELLS, Nev. (AP) — A train carrying military munitions derailed in the high desert of northeast Nevada on Wednesday, closing an interstate for about an hour before emergency crews determined there was no danger. No injuries were reported.

Cars carrying the munitions to a Nevada Army depot were not among those that derailed near the community of Wells not far from the Utah-Nevada state line, officials said.

Nine flat cars, two tankers and three box cars on the 22-car train derailed at about 10 a.m., and a plume of white aluminum oxide was released, the Nevada Highway Patrol said. The powder was described as a mild skin irritant, but not a hazardous material.

Elko County sheriff's officials said the Union Pacific Railroad confirmed vegetable oil also spilled.

Interstate 80 was closed in both directions from about 11 a.m. to noon.

"At this time, we have no information regarding why the train derailed," Highway Patrol Trooper Jim Stewart said in a statement.

Union Pacific spokeswoman Kristen South confirmed there was hazardous materials and ammunition on the train.

"However, it is not in any of the derailed cars," she said in an email to The Associated Press. "Union Pacific is investigating the cause and working on cleanup."

She had no immediate estimate of when rail traffic would resume on the line that runs between Reno and Salt Lake City.

The train was headed west to an Army depot in Hawthorne that dates to 1930 and was developed as a Navy ammunition storage area because of its remoteness. It is about 125 miles (200 kilometers) southeast of Reno.

It was transferred in 1977 to the Army. It provides storage for old munitions and explosives, including some that could be reactivated, and serves as a training facility for special forces units.

In March 2013, it was the site of a training accident that killed seven Marines and injured eight others.

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