Wenatchee, WA Tank Car Explodes, Aug 1974

South Wenatchee WASH Tank car explosion 8-6-1974 2.jpg South Wenatchee WASH Tank Car explosion 8-6-1974 3.jpg South Wenatchee WASH Tank car explosion 8-6-1974 4.jpg South Wenatchee WASH Tank car explosion 8-6-1974.jpg


Wenatchee, Wash. -- Two persons were killed and more than 60 injured Tuesday when a tank car, apparently filled with a volatile chemical, exploded in a railroad yard near here, officials said. A spokesman for the Burlington Northern Railroad said at least four other tank cars carrying chemicals that were potentially explosive were moved from rail yard. Fire Chief Glen Harris said the chemical in the tank cars was ammonium nitrate, used in making fertilizer. He said its explosive potential was equivalent to low-grade dynamite. Chelan County sheriff's deputies said DAVID MAURICE JONES, 28, a Burlington Northern Railroad switch foreman, of East Wenatchee, Wash.; and LINDELL WORTH MESSER, 34, a transient, of Crawford, Alabama, were killed as a result of the blast. Most of the injuries were suffered by residents who lived in homes about 1 1/2 blocks from the scene of the explosion.
A railroad company official said the tank car containing ammonium nitrate in a liquid form was being shipped from Minnesota to Dupont, Wash. The train was enroute from Spokane to Seattle. The residential area is on the opposite side of a road running parallel to the railroad tracks. A Wenatchee police spokesman said, "One lady was cut quite badly. We got her out. From that point on, it was just a convergence of emergency vehicles." Fire Chief Harris said an unused Burlington Northern roundhouse was shattered by the explosion. "The old roundhouse building took a lot of the blast and saved a lot of the houses," he said. He said there was a large crater in the ground where the blast occurred and nearby railroad cars were twisted like pretzels. A railroad official estimated about 100 rail cars were destroyed. The yard was used mainly for moving agricultural commodities and a number of refrigerator cars used by the fruitpacking industry were there.
Wenatchee is in a large apple-producing area.

Independent Long Beach California 1974-08-07

Partial Listing of the Injured:
LLOYD CARLSON, age 50, Wenatchee, head injury and severe lacerations.
MRS. RUTH CARLSON, age 47, Wenatchee, multiple severe lacerations.
CHRISTIAN HARTELIUS, age 31, truck driver, Seattle, severe head and arm injuries.
PEGGY MAHONEY, age 41, Wenatchee, head injury and severe lacerations.
MRS. MAE MURPHY, age 38, Wenatchee, multiple severe lacerations.
MARVIN SCHULTZ, age 64, Wenatchee, punctured eardrum and severe lacerations.


HazMat Experts and

HazMat Experts and Firefighters petition Dow Chemical and Union Pacific for safe rail tank cars transporting gas chlorine. Secondary containment is a necessary improvement that must be implemented. See--PETITION C KIT for First Responders Comments.