Residents gathered in a high school gym for a meeting with officials about two weeks after a train carrying hazardous goods, including vinyl chloride, derailed in the eastern Ohio community of East Palestine and started a fire. They demanded answers.
The evacuation order was lifted last week, allowing residents to return to their homes, but they have since complained of burning eyes, sick pets, or dead fish in waterways, prompting questions about how the incident was handled and the effects of exposure to those chemicals, according to reports.
“Why are people getting sick if there’s nothing in the air or the water.” on Wednesday, a woman enquired.
The US National Transportation Safety Board reports that 38 train cars derailed and an additional 12 vehicles were damaged by fire.
Hundreds of residents were forced to flee due to the threat of an explosion. A lingering chlorine odour prompted crews to manage detonations to release the chemical, releasing toxic and potentially lethal plumes of smoke into the air.
In light of the derailment, the White House stated on Thursday that residents of East Palestine, Ohio, should be concerned.
Karine Jean-Pierre, the White House press secretary, remarked: “They have questions. That’s all understandable.”
“We’re going to get through this together. We’re going to hold Norfolk Southern accountable,” Jean-Pierre told reporters at the White House.
Mike DeWine, the governor of Ohio, tweeted on Thursday that he had discussed the need for government assistance in East Palestine with the White House.
In a Thursday update, the US Environmental Protection Agency stated that 486 properties had been thoroughly inspected and that tests from the municipal well sampling had been completed and the results “showed no water quality concerns.”
Norfolk Southern is facing at least four class action lawsuits that allege negligence over the crash.
“I know there are still a lot of questions without answers,” Alan Shaw, president and chief executive officer of Norfolk Southern Corporation, addressed a letter to the people of East Palestine on Thursday. “I know you’re tired. I know you’re worried.”