Explosion at world’s largest railyard in Nebraska prompts evacuations because of heavy toxic smoke

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — An explosion inside a shipping container at the world’s largest railyard prompted evacuations in western Nebraska Thursday because of the toxic smoke generated when one of the chemicals aboard caught fire. The explosion occurred around noon inside an intermodal shipping container on a railcar at Union Pacific’s Bailey Yard in North Platte, though it wasn’t immediately clear what caused the explosion. No one was hurt and the fire was extinguished by Thursday evening. Authorities evacuated everyone within a one-mile radius of the railyard, which is about 250 miles west of Omaha. Railroad spokeswoman Robynn Tysver said one of the containers involved in the fire was carrying perchloric acid, which is used in explosives and other products.