Four days ago, the citizens of East Palestine, a village in Ohio, were shocked to find that they were not able to go to their homes. That’s because five cars of a train derailed and released toxic chemicals.
Toxic Chemicals Released
The freight train consists of 50 cars or carriages. Fortunately, only five of them became derailed. The mayor of East Palestine broke the information in a news conference.
According to reports, the chemical is vinyl chloride. It happens to be highly flammable and could easily explode. The train cars were carrying the chemical as part of a mission to drain the chemical.
Scott Deutsch explained that tiny charges would be placed against each train car and detonated. He said the vinyl chloride will drain into a pit below the cars where the chemical would burst into flames and eventually burn up.
This is what they call a "controlled release" The train derailment in Ohio at a little town called East Palestine had at least 5 tanker cars full of toxic flammable chemicals, apparently the only options were to let it burn like this or it would go off like a bomb. pic.twitter.com/SfogMDO9hd
— 🥀_Imposter_🕸️ (@Imposter_Edits) February 7, 2023
This morning, the fire already died down quite a bit, but it continues to burn; this is according to a news conference that Deutsch hosted.
The mayor addressed the public by saying the danger was still very real and was ongoing. He advised that residents not return as of yet. He continued by saying only when the fire is greatly reduced will it be safe for residents to return.
The restricted area around the hazardous fire stretchers for about a mile in each direction; this area has not been reduced and the mayor maintains that this zone may continue to stay a mile wide until the situation has been reassessed.
He went on to say he could not give an estimate on when the time for residents to return to the area and their homes would be.
Officials said they have successfully conducted a controlled release of toxic chemicals from a train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio — but the long-term effects of the dangerous chemicals on residents’ health and the surrounding environment may still be ahead. pic.twitter.com/focKAeLA7h
— CBS Mornings (@CBSMornings) February 7, 2023
For the moment, the Environmental Protection Agency has deployed a team who is consistently checking on the quality of the air and water in the village.
Without the quick response of the first responders, the Norfolk Southern Railroad maintains that this could have quickly turned into a massive disaster event. The mayor also deployed the Ohio National Guard to help contain the disaster.
It has been estimated that approximately 4,800 civilians were forced to evacuate the area just before the authorities put their plan into motion to drain the cars and control the flames.
People Flee Homes
Many had already fled the area in fear of inhaling toxic fumes and of shrapnel injury, in case of an uncontrolled explosion.
The consequence of not evacuating when instructed to do so is arrest. Misconduct in the midst of a crisis will not be tolerated by authorities.
According to officials, the National Transportation Safety Board is very seriously looking into the disaster to try and concluded what happened.
As far as they know, the crew on the train received a notification about a mechanical fault. They then engaged the emergency break; it was at this point that the train cars derailed.