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Crews Release Poisonous Gases from Wreckage of Train That Derailed in Ohio

HeadlineFeb 07, 2023

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine ordered residents of the village of East Palestine to evacuate their homes and businesses Monday, after a freight train crash spread smoke and toxic chemicals into the community 50 miles northwest of Pittsburgh.

Gov. Mike DeWine: “You need to leave. You just need to leave. We are ordering you to leave. This is a matter of life and death.”

On Friday evening, a freight train derailment triggered a massive fire that engulfed the surrounding area in smoke and threatened to cause a major explosion. The wreckage contained poisonous chemicals including phosgene, hydrogen chloride and vinyl chloride. On Monday, the train’s operator, Norfolk Southern, said it carried out a controlled release of the chemicals into the air. Some residents of East Palestine who packed into emergency shelters said they will be reluctant to return to their homes.

Jami Cozza: “The creek by my house had a very, very strong chemical smell to it. I went in my house. It was worse. I gathered clothes up and left. When I left, the clothes stunk so bad, even the ones that were in my dryer, that I had to wash them at the hotel. My laptop for work stunk like chemicals. There’s definitely something going on with the water, and I don’t even know that I want to go back when they lift the evacuation.”

The accident brought renewed attention to so-called bomb trains transporting crude oil and other dangerous chemicals through communities across the United States.

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