EAST PALESTINE, Ohio (AP) — A smoldering tangle of dozens of derailed boxcars, some carrying hazardous materials, kept an evacuation order in effect in Ohio near the Pennsylvania state line as Environmental officials watch air quality monitors warily.
About 50 cars derailed around 9 p.m. Friday in eastern Palestine as a train carried a variety of goods from Madison, Illinois to Conway, Pennsylvania, rail operator Norfolk Southern said. No injuries were reported to the crew, local residents or first responders.
Officials in eastern Palestine said on Sunday that rescuers were watching the blaze but were keeping their distance from the blaze, saying cleanup efforts could not begin while cars were burning. The evacuation covers a one-mile radius, officials said.
Mayor Trent Conaway, who declared a state of emergency in the village, said a person was arrested for driving around barricades before crashing overnight. He warned that more arrests would follow if people did not stay away.
“I don’t know why anyone would want to be up there; You breathe in toxic fumes when you’re so close,’ he said, noting that air quality monitors away from the fire showed no concern and that the city’s water is safe because it is fed by groundwater that has not been contaminated by materials. went off in torrents. Environmental Protection Agency officials have been working to remove pollutants from rivers and monitor water quality.
Fire Chief Keith Drabick said it was so important to avoid the area “because a train carrying hazardous materials has wrecked in the city and is on fire.” It’s so easy.”
Sheriffs went door to door Sunday to count the remaining residents and urged those in the evacuation zone to leave the area. “We ask residents to please evacuate and cooperate,” officials said in a statement. Schools and offices in the village will be closed on Monday and authorities will decide this afternoon whether or not to extend the school closure.
Norfolk Southern said 20 of the more than 100 cars were classified as carrying hazardous materials – defined as cargo that could present any type of hazard “including combustible materials or environmental hazards”. A few cars were carrying vinyl chloride and at least one was “intermittently” spilling its contents through a pressure relief device.
The National Transportation Safety Board said only 10 cars carrying hazardous materials derailed and five of them were carrying vinyl chloride, not 14 as previously reported. And officials reiterated late Saturday that they had not confirmed the release of vinyl chloride other than pressure relief devices working as expected.
According to the federal government’s National Cancer Institute, vinyl chloride, used to make the hard plastic polyvinyl chloride resin in a variety of plastic products, is linked to an increased risk of liver cancer and other cancers. . Norfolk Southern to provide a data sheet listing all chemicals involved.
The evacuation order affected the homes of 1,500 to 2,000 of the city’s 4,800 to 4,900 residents, but officials said it was unclear how many were actually affected. About eight residents remained in an emergency shelter. Norfolk Southern opened a support center in the village to gather information from affected residents; Village officials said 75 people visited the center on Saturday and around 100 were there by Sunday morning.
The Associated Press
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