Officials were working to prevent any major explosion from the smoldering wreckage of an Ohio train derailment near the Pennsylvania state line as the governor activated the Ohio National Guard to help the village where many residents were evacuated Had to do
The eastern Palestinian village said on Monday morning that authorities would begin enforcing the previously recommended evacuation zone within a 1-mile (1.6-kilometer) radius of the crash site.
Authorities warned hundreds of nearby residents, who refused to do so on Sunday night, saying a rail car was at risk of a possible explosion that could launch deadly shrapnel up to a mile.
According to a statement from Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s office, he warned of the “possibility of a catastrophic tanker failure” after observing a “dramatic temperature change” in that rail car. It did not specify what was in that car or whether it was among those carrying hazardous materials.
The statement said the Guard would assist local and state officials already present in the village, which has closed roads, schools and businesses and even evacuated its police communications center, a The Facebook post promised that 911 services would not be affected.
Nearly 50 cars were derailed in a horrific crash Friday night on a train carrying a variety of products from Madison, Illinois, to Conway, Pennsylvania, rail operator Norfolk Southern said. There were no injuries to crew, residents or first responders.
Federal investigators say the cause was a mechanical problem with the rail car axles. Michael Graham, a board member of the National Transportation Safety Board, said on Sunday that “shortly before the train derailed,” the three-member train crew received an alert about a mechanical fault. Graham said investigators identified the exact “point of the derailment” but the board was still working to determine which rail car experienced the axle problem.
The preliminary inquiry report is expected in the next one month.
East Palestinian officials said emergency responders were monitoring but keeping their distance from the fire, and rescue efforts could not begin while the cars were smoldering.
Mayor Trent Conaway, who declared a state of emergency in the village, said a man had been arrested for going around barricades leading up to the accident. He warned people to stay away and said they would risk arrest.
“I don’t know why anyone would want to live there; If you are that close you are breathing in toxic fumes,” he said, insisting air quality monitors far from the fire showed no level of concern and the city’s water is safe because it is free from some material. is fed by unaffected groundwater. in streams. Environmental Protection Agency crews were working to remove contaminants from streams and monitor water quality.
Sheriffs went door-to-door on Sunday to count remaining residents and urged people within the evacuation zone to leave.
Norfolk Southern said 20 of the more than 100 cars on the train were classified as carrying hazardous materials – defined as cargo that could pose a hazard in any way “flammable, including combustible or environmental hazards.”
The NTSB said only 10 cars loaded with hazardous materials derailed and five of them were carrying vinyl chloride, not 14 as previously stated. Officials stressed late Saturday that they had not confirmed a release of vinyl chloride other than designed pressure release devices.
According to the federal government’s National Cancer Institute, vinyl chloride, used to make polyvinyl chloride rigid plastic resin in a variety of plastic products, is associated with an increased risk of liver cancer and other cancers.
According to a “Frequently Asked Questions” post on the village’s Facebook page, “Short-term exposure to low levels of substances associated with the derailment does not present a long-term health risk to residents.” “Vinyl chloride and benzene can cause cancer in people exposed to high concentrations over many years in the workplace; However, there is no indication that any potential exposure to derailment leads to an increased risk of cancer or any other long-term health effects in community members.
Authorities said Sunday afternoon that the cars involved contained residues of flammable liquids, butyl acrylate and benzene from previous shipments, as well as non-hazardous materials such as wheat, plastic pellets, malt liquor and lubricating oil.
The evacuation order covered the homes of 1,500 to 2,000 of the city’s 4,800 to 4,900 residents, but officials said it was unknown exactly how many were affected. Most of the people who went to emergency shelters were not there as of Sunday.
Norfolk Southern has opened a support center in the village to collect information from affected residents.
Learn how to navigate and strengthen trust in your business with The Trust Factor, a weekly newsletter that examines what leaders need to succeed. Sign up here.