LIDA JUNCTION, Nev. — More than 20 tons of ammunition that exploded in the Nevada desert when a trailer rig caught fire was destined for the Persian Gulf, the Army said Thursday.
"The truck was en route to Southport, N.C., and its ultimate destination was Operation Desert Shield," said Larry Rogers, a civilian spokesman for the Sierra Army Depot, an ammunition storage area near Hurlong, Calif.
There were no injuries.
The truck was loaded with explosives used to blow holes in the ground to create tank traps or destroy roads, said Rogers.
A spokesman at nearby Nellis Air Force Base said the truck was traveling south on U.S. 95 late Wednesday night when the driver noticed a fire in the rear axle. The driver disconnected the cab from the trailer rig and sped away, going about a half-mile before the trailer exploded in an aerial display that was visible for miles.
Howard Harrell, whose Cottontail Ranch legal brothel was about five miles from the blast, said, "The explosions were heavy and started shaking our buildings . . ."
The incident occurred 170 miles north of Las Vegas. The Nevada Highway Patrol said U.S. 95, the major link between Las Vegas and Reno, was closed from 10 p.m. Wednesday until 7 a.m. Thursday, causing traffic to back up three miles.