I've seen that yard twice in real life while out in the North Platte area severe storm chasing. It's huge and takes up a good stretch of land near the city. We approached the yard from the west where there was a long yard lead. There were freights pulling in and out parallel to the highway. The non-rail media... they of course had to make this a bigger deal than it was.
A tank may have overheated, speculation here, due to a cooling system failure - the sparks are a hint.
The tank went pop and stuff came out with acrid smoke.
The FD put the fire out and people had to be evacuated.
If this was a tank truck on I-80...
A tanker truck crashed and there was a fire. People nearby had to be evacuated.
News at 11.
In the meantime, man cuts head of and lived to tell about it and cute babies have snotty noses.
Short sensational commentary are the fodder of some these days. A proper detailed explanation, they could learn from, is a mental challenge. To bad for them. The story is in the details. But it is easier to turn headlines into propaganda.
Well, if it was perchloric acid, I could see an evacuation downwind. I have visited the golden spike tower there, it is a neat place to get an elevated view and some museum-type displays (like how they fix 10,000 wheels a month!). I love standing on the balcony and listening to the couplers ricocheting down a long line of freight cars. There is also a park north of the railyard where you can explore a steam Challenger, a diesel locomotive, and baggage and RPO cars.
I saw the tower from a distance in 2013 when I was out there. We stayed overnight at the Microtel and then traveled north into northern Montana to chase storms. I saw some great trains on the way too but I wasn't in a position to get some good pictures in the van. I too can see the evacuation for that stuff but then with a truck that would've taken place as well without the breaking news aspect of it. Even the collapse of I-95 headlines didn't last long.