Toxic Threat Looms Over OH Village After Derailment

Feb. 6, 2023
Residents near East Palestine have been evacuated since the rail cars carrying hazardous materials derailed.

Joseph Wilkinson, Peter Sblendorio

New York Daily News


A dangerous fire continued to burn in eastern Ohio on Sunday and an evacuation order remained in place after about 50 cars on a freight train derailed late Friday, officials said.

Responders were unable to begin a remediation of the crash site in East Palestine while the fire was still blazing, according to local authorities.

The evacuation order covers a 1-mile radius near the Ohio- Pennsylvania border. The train had more than 100 cars, including 20 transporting hazardous materials, according to authorities. Ten of the cars with hazardous materials derailed, according to the National Transportation Safety Board.

“We are asking residents to please evacuate and cooperate,” officials said.

The Norfolk Southern train was traveling through East Palestine when the cars derailed around 9 p.m. Friday. No injuries were reported, and an investigation into what caused the derailment is underway.

Between 1,500 and 2,000 residents were asked to evacuate. Sheriff’s officials visited homes Sunday to ask people in the radius to leave.

One person was arrested for approaching the crash site, Mayor Trent Conaway said.

“I don’t know why anybody would want to be up there; you’re breathing toxic fumes if you’re that close,” Conaway said.

Five of the derailed cars were carrying vinyl chloride, a chemical used to make hard plastic products.

At least one car was “intermittently releasing [its] contents ... through a pressure release device as designed,” Michael Graham of the National Transportation Safety Board said Saturday.

The air quality appears to be intact and the town’s water was not impacted by materials that went into streams, authorities said.

“The rail car that was carrying that is doing its job,” said Keith Drabick, the East Palestine fire chief.

With News Wire Services

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