Explosion reported at GBW Railcar Services near Atchison, 9 injured in blast

KSHB 41 Kansas City | December 12, 2014 | Column by Garrett Haake and Lexi Sutter

Multiple people are injured following an explosion at GBW Railcar Services near Atchison Thursday afternoon.

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Atchison County Sheriff Laurie said workers pulled a tank car containing fuel, possibly gasoline, into the building and it exploded with 17 employees inside. The company said the explosion happened after 2 p.m. in the area used to prepare railcar surfaces for painting.

Nine people were evaluated area hospitals. The reported injuries include smoke inhalation, burns and a back injury along with other precautionary treatment. The sheriff said all other employees were screened by EMS and released. 

Two patients are still being treated at University of Kansas Hospital for trauma and burns. As of 8:45 p.m. Thursday night, both patients were in fair condition. Officials did not say if the burns were second or third degree. Trauma could be anything from cuts to broken bones. 

GBW Railcar Services said in a statement their thoughts and prayers are with the employees and their families. 

Neighbors in the rural area saw thick smoke billow into the sky.

"When I came out, it was just big, giant black clouds of smoke coming from back here," Levi Forrister said. "When it went off, what I heard, it sounded like a cannon got shot off in my yard."  

Fire investigators, along with senior management from GBW, will continue to investigate what sparked the explosion.


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PAUSE is a grassroots group of individuals who have come together to promote safe, sustainable energy and fight for environmental justice. We engage the greater public to stop the fossil fuel industry’s assault on the people of Albany and our environment.