East Palestine residents are seething over authorities downplaying extent of train derailment chemical release; “don’t tell me it’s safe”
02/15/2023 // Ethan Huff // Views

Despite promises from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that everything is now good to go, many residents of East Palestine, Ohio, are discovering that it might not be safe to return home after all.

The "controlled release" of highly toxic and highly flammable chemicals from a derailed Norfolk Southern freight train have massively polluted the region along the Pennsylvania border, and some locals say they are suffering burning sensations and persistent cough upon returning.

Area farmers say their livestock animals are mysteriously dropping dead while state officials have confirmed that more than 3,000 fish across seven-and-a-half miles of stream are also dead – this, as federal officials declare the incident to be over and done with.

In case you missed it, a 50-car freight train derailed at around 9pm on Friday, February 3. Authorities subsequently ignited the gas contained in 10 of the cars carrying hazardous chemicals, which released a massive plume of smoke and soot that carried for miles and miles.

Area residents were evacuated for a few days and later told it was safe to return home, but many of them are now saying not so fast as they discover that there were far more chemicals than just vinyl chloride that were released during the controlled explosion.

The EPA is now warning that chemicals continue to be released "to the air, surface soils, and surface waters." This could mean that the area is now an unsafe place to live indefinitely.

Thousands of fish found floating in creeks around East Palestine

Sil Caggiano, a hazardous chemicals specialist and former fire department chief, told the media that he is "surprised" residents were allowed to return home this quickly before all of their homes could even be tested for chemical exposure.


"I would've far rather they did all the testing [first]," he said. "There's a lot of what ifs, and we're going to be looking at this thing five, 10, 15, 20 years down the line and wondering, 'Gee, cancer clusters could pop up, you know, well water could go bad.'"

Caggiano added that the controlled explosion of the derailed freight cars "basically nuked a town," referring to East Palestine, all "so we could get a railroad open."

A strong chemical smell is still present around the town, and it is reportedly so strong that some residents are refusing to return home. One of them is Cathey Reese, a resident of nearby Negley, who told WPXI of Pittsburgh: "Don't tell me it's safe."

"Something is going on if the fish are floating in the creek," she added.

At the nearby Kindred Spirits Rescue Ranch, managers and volunteers made the decision to evacuate 77 of their largest animals, including a yak and a zebu, for at least two days last week due to the plume of smoke that rose over the facility.

"Our eyes were burning and my face could feel it."

The Ohio Farm Bureau Federation is recommending that all its members get their well water tested immediately to ensure it is still safe to drink.

"There's some level of frustration out there" among farmers, said organization director Nick Kennedy. "They just want answers. Their livelihoods might be at stake here."

Both state and federal officials continue to deny that there is any continued threat to residents and animals throughout the area, even though many of them say they feel sickly being around the vicinity.

"It's completely safe, says the man in the river in a hazmat suit," wrote one commenter sarcastically about the situation.

More related news about the East Palestine train derailment and controlled explosion can be found at Disaster.news.

Sources for this article include:



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