You may recall that last week, the residents of St. Louis were understandably alarmed by an underground trash fire that was threatening to burn its way into a radioactive waste dump. While that was going on however, there was another similar incident that largely skated under the radar of the mainstream media. On October 18th, a radioactive waste dump outside of the small town of Beatty, Nevada caught fire, and nobody knows why. The 80 acre site contains 22 radioactive depositories that are buried underground. One of the site managers filmed the incident as it unfolded.
The fire coincided with several flash floods that altogether, led authorities to shut down a 140 mile stretch of US 95 for 24 hours, before the fire burned itself out. Until recently, the story was only being reported by local news outlets and AP. In the week since the fire was first reported, local residents have expressed their concerns over the fact that the authorities kept them completely in the dark until the fire had subsided.
Operations are back to normal at the U.S. Ecology site, but residents say they’re still looking for answers.
“We didn’t even hear about it when it happened, according to Cindy Craig, a resident. “We weren’t even told about it until the next day.”
State officials addressed the media from Carson City Tuesday, but there weren’t a lot of answers.
“We’re not exactly sure what was burning in that pit,” said Mulvihill.
“I heard stuff but couldn’t verify anything,” said Wendy Caskey, owner of the Happy Burro Chili and Beer restaurant in Beatty. “We need to get a plan.”
Early Sunday morning a fire ignited in a low-level nuclear storage site in the desert 10 miles from Beatty and 115 miles northwest of Las Vegas. The blaze followed flash flooding that shut down the town’s escape routes: U.S. 95 and Highway 373.
A plume of smoke billowed over the storage site and the rain continued to pound the hardscrabble landscape of the Mojave Desert. County officials and law enforcement were taking hundreds of phone calls, working to clear the roads and planning evacuations. They declared an emergency and received intel from the state and federal government. But officials didn’t rush to update the community.
“We are sorry,” said Nye County Sheriff Sharon Wehrly.
As for those who were stuck in traffic due to the highway closure, they weren’t just uninformed. They were lied to.
As the fire burned, the US 95 was closed for a 140 mile stretch for nearly 24 hours. . People waiting in their cars say they were told a much different reason for the traffic jam.
“They told us it was debris in the road,” one resident told News 3. “We found out it was a nuclear waste fire.”
The fire was allowed to burn itself out because crews couldn’t use water on the potentially toxic material.
So far the authorities are saying that they haven’t detected any radioactive materials in and around the site, or in the air. However, the radiation level of Las Vegas spiked dramatically several hours after the fire, but fortunately, quickly subsided after midnight.
The site was run by US Ecology Inc. until the 1970’s when their license was suspended for mishandling radioactive materials, which is around the same time period that the now burnt materials were buried. They resumed control of the site shortly thereafter, but it is now run by the state of Nevada after it was closed in 1992. Coincidentally, the cell phone footage of the fire was filmed by US Ecology employees, who now run a similar hazardous waste dump next door to the radioactive dump.
The site was designed to store low-level radioactive waste, but state officials can’t produce any records of what is actually stored there. A recent investigation of the scene has found a 20 by 30 foot crater filled with corroded barrels and debris spread across a 190 foot radius. Two barrels from the fire and explosion were found outside of the fence line.
This incident, alongside the trash fire in St Louis and countless other radiation related incidents, has revealed an all too common pattern with our government. They won’t tell you anything until the situation has progressed to the point where there is nothing you can do to save yourself. If you happen to live near any site where our government has dumped toxic waste, consider yourself warned.
Joshua Krause is a reporter, writer and researcher at The Daily Sheeple. He was born and raised in the Bay Area and is a freelance writer and author. You can follow Joshua’s reports at Facebook or on his personal Twitter. Joshua’s website is Strange Danger.