An emergency evacuation order for residents within a mile of a derailed train in East Palestine, Columbiana, Ohio, has been issued after a derailed tanker rail car has had a “drastic temperature change” and a threat of explosion now exists. Notably, this initial derailment happened two days ago. Shrapnel is warned to possibly fly up to one mile away from the catastrophic failure.
Local news source WKNB reports:
“A state of emergency remains in place until further notice for a one-mile radius around the scene of the derailment, which affects the 1,500 to 2,000 residents living east of Market Street to Highland and Jimtown Roads
Charges, including child endangerment charges, can and will be filed for those who stay in the evacuation zone, officials say.
Sheriff McLaughlin from Columbiana county says there is also a high possibility of a toxic gas release.
The train, pulling 150-200 cars, derailed Friday around 9 p.m., on the east end of East Palestine near the Pennsylvania border. The fire that ensued stretched from one-quarter to one-half mile along the tracks. The glow of the fire could be seen 10 miles away. The intensity of the fire has decreased since Friday, but as of Sunday evening was still burning.”
DEVELOPING: officials confirm a train derailment in East Palestine; witness tells 21 News it's not clear what the train is carrying but that it's something flammable; we're working to learn more pic.twitter.com/aWQuF4LpAT
— Chris Cerenelli (@ChrisWFMJ) February 4, 2023
Containment leakage and subsequent EPA cleaning efforts have also reportedly been put into place to contain poisoning of the water cycle.
Norfolk Southern released a statement Sunday detailing what the train was hauling.
“Cars involved in the derailment contained vinyl choride, combustible liquids, butyl acrylate, benzene residue cars (railroad cars that previously contained benzene,” the release stated, “and nonharzardous materials such as wheat, plastic pellets, malt liquors and lube oil.”
WKNB continues: “Michael Graham of the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said there were “10 hazardous material cars” involved in the derailment.
We have obtained two videos which show prelimary indications of mechanical issues on one of the railcar axles,” said Graham. “We’re working to identify which railcar experienced the potential mechanical issue for further examination.”
Graham said there were three Norfolk Southern employees working on the train – an engineer, conductor, and a conductor trainee – who have been interviewed, none of whom were hurt.
The crew did receive an alarm from a wayside defect protector shortly before the derailment indicating a mechanical issue. Then an emergency brake application initiated,” said Graham.
Graham said after the train stopped the conductor decoupled the locomotives from the railcars and moved them to a safe location.”