Three Union Pacific car department employees were injured around noon Saturday while working on a railcar in a repair shop at Bailey Yard. A general foreman was flown to the Nebraska Medical Center burn unit in Omaha with first and second degree burns, according to separate sources.
Union Pacific spokesman Mark Davis said one worker was treated for burns and released from Great Plains Regional Medical Center.
Separate sources told the Bulletin that two carmen were working under a railcar, removing a damaged center-mounted cushioning device -- a large shock absorber filled with hydraulic oil designed to lessen the impact when cars are hooked together.
A carman was using a cutting torch to remove stops from the damaged device so it could be removed. Heat from the torch apparently ignited hydraulic oil that had leaked from the cylinder, according to sources who asked to remain anonymous for fear of job reprisal.
In turn, the oil reservoir on the device ignited and fire shot out from under the car, burning the two workers as well as Mike Lambert, a general foreman who was reportedly standing next to the car.
Davis said a full investigation is underway.