HAWTHORNE, Nev. (KRNV & MyNews4.com) - Hawthorne Army Depot has a long history in Nevada.
It was established 83 years ago, in 1930.
"The reason it's there is because of its remoteness," said Nevada historian and former State Archivist Guy Rocha. "It's gone through a number of name changes and in terms of whose managing the munitions over the years."
Rocha said it was used during World War II, Korea and Vietnam as a naval ammunitions depot that employed thousands of people.
In 1977 it transferred ownership to the Army, who have been operating it ever since. In 1994 it received it's current name, Hawthorne Army Depot.
"The Hawthorne Army Depot stores old munitions, old explosives and some of it could be reactivated," said Rocha.
He said in more recent years it's also become a training facility for military branches including the Marines.
"Because the terrain there and altitude is similar to Afghanistan, it serves kind of as a surrogate for Afghanistan," said Rocha.
And he said he can't remember anything like this tragedy ever happening at the Depot before.
"As much as I'm aware, this is the worst disaster that I'm aware of that has happened there."