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Ohio Train Derailment: Officials Move to Release Toxic Chemicals from 5 Cars to Avoid Explosion

February 7, 2023 | By Kali Girl

According to USA Today, officials are keeping a close eye on the aftermath of a massive train derailment that resulted in a fiery explosion on the Ohio-Pennsylvania border in East Palestine, Ohio. The incident occurred on Friday, Feb. 3, and the National Transportation Safety Board is currently conducting an investigation.

Norfolk Southern Railway says a rail car axle malfunction caused the derailment. To prevent the risk of explosion, the company is planning a controlled release of vinyl chloride to quickly disperse fumes. No reports of injuries to residents, crew, or first responders have been reported following the incident.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced at a news conference that the evacuation zone surrounding the fiery derailment has now expanded to two states. The future return of residents remains uncertain.

“You need to leave, we’re ordering you to leave,” DeWine said at an afternoon news conference to any remaining residents. “This is a matter of life and death, you are in imminent danger.”

“If you’re in that red zone, you’re likely a very possible death, and if you’re in the yellow zone, certainly severe, long-term injuries.”

Vinyl chloride is a man-made chemical used in products ranging from piping and siding, blood bags and tubing, to wire and cable insulation, windshield system components.

The chemical easily ignites at room temperature and poses health risks. According to the National Cancer Institute, vinyl chloride is associated with skin burns and a heightened risk of liver, lung, and brain cancer.

Officials have been begging residents to evacuate the area, as fears about air and water contamination continues to grow.

Refusal to evacuate the designated zone could result in arrest on a misdemeanor charge of misconduct in an emergency, while those with children could face child endangerment charges.

An alarm signaled a mechanical issue, leading to an emergency brake application, but 10 hazardous material-carrying cars still derailed.

Additional requests pleading for residents to evacuate have been shared via social media.

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