Blast Victim Identified

Authorities have identified the victim of an explosion in Council Bluffs Tuesday morning as 46-year-old Daniel Weinert of Omaha. Three other people were injured in the blast.

One man working nearby the blast tells us, "It shook the building down the street about two blocks away."

A special maintenance crew was working on a passenger rail car inside the Heritage Park equipment shop when the explosion happened.

Council Bluffs Police Sergeant Bob Brietzke says, "It was quite an explosion, a lot of debris flying around the inside of that building."

The roundhouse, once used to maintain locomotives, is now an area for servicing special passenger cars of Union Pacific's fleet.

Spokesman John Bromley says the crew was preparing to attach a new fuel tank to the underside of a rail car.

He says, "They were grinding on it to remove some excess metal just prior to installing it. The tank was empty. There was no fuel in it so we don't know what caused the explosion."

The force of the explosion threw the tank on the one side of the room. The side of the rail car is dented.

Bromley says 22 people were inside the building at the time of the explosion.

Mr. Weinert was killed instantly. Three other workers were hit with shards of flying metal and taken to Mercy Hospital. Their injuries are not life threatening.

The force of the blast blew out a second story window on the other side of the building.

Bromley says what's puzzling is that this was an elite crew working on showcase equipment with a fuel tank that had never been used.

He says, "They're very talented and do a wide variety of mechanical work on these cars in maintaining them. I would suspect that they've done this before."

The State Fire Marshal's office is investigating.

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