EAST PALESTINE, Ohio — Those who are still in the area of the train derailment that occurred in East Palatine on Sunday have been given an urgent warning to evacuate by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine.
“Residents living within a mile of the train derailment site who have not yet left their homes are asked to immediately evacuate due to the potential of a major explosion,” Gov. DeWine said.
Within the past two hours, officials have stated that there has been a significant shift in temperature inside of a rail car, and that there is now the possibility of a “catastrophic tanker failure” that may create an explosion with the potential for lethal shrapnel to travel up to a mile.
Around 8 o’clock on Sunday evening, Governor DeWine called out the Ohio National Guard to aid local authorities at the scene of the incident. The authorities have stated that crews are attempting to prevent an explosion, but they are still encouraging locals to evacuate the area as soon as possible.
Local officials reported that more than 500 people have refused to leave their homes at this moment despite the fact that the majority of people in the one-mile radius from the incident area have already fled.
On Sunday, officials kept an eye on how the derailed train carrying dangerous materials on Friday affected the environment. The crash caused a big fire that is still going, evacuations, an order to stay in place, and worries about the air quality.
After the Norfolk Southern train crash, Trent Conaway, the mayor of East Palestine, told people that the air and water are still safe to breathe and drink. He said that East Palestine schools and city meetings would be closed on Monday.
Officials have said that the train derailed Friday night in East Palestine, which is about 15 miles south of Youngstown. The National Transportation Safety Board, which is looking into the accident, says that about 20 of the more than 100 cars were carrying dangerous materials.
The NTSB said in a statement on Saturday that 10 of these cars went off the tracks. Five of them were carrying vinyl chloride. So far, the agency said, it had “not confirmed that vinyl chloride was released in any way other than through the pressure release devices.”
Even though the air and water quality were stable on Sunday and officials haven’t seen any abnormal levels yet, “things can change at any time,” said James Justice, a coordinator for the EPA’s Emergency Response who was on the scene.
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He said that the authorities are still looking for a “long list” of chemicals, both those that Norfolk Southern gave them and those that can be made when chemicals are burned. Officials told everyone in the town of about 5,000 people to stay in their homes, and they told everyone within a mile of the train crash near James Street to leave.
Conaway said at a news conference on Sunday that both of the rules were still in place. At the news conference, Fire Chief Keith Drabkick told reporters that the scene was still dangerous, so authorities couldn’t do anything there. Drabkick said that crews won’t be able to find out the full list of chemicals until the fires are out.
Officials asked people to follow the orders to stay in their homes. The mayor said that on Saturday night, someone was arrested for misbehaving after going to the scene and getting too close to the train.
“Please stay home. I can’t reiterate it enough,” Conaway said. “Do not come to our town.”
A spokesperson for the Ohio EPA said that the agency is keeping an eye on the water quality in local streams that flow into the Ohio River. However, the agency does not expect contamination to reach East Palestine’s public water system, which gets its water from other places.
The agency put up containment dams in local streams and set up three aeration sites with high-volume pumps to clean the water and get rid of dissolved pollutants. In an email sent to CNN on Sunday morning, a Norfolk Southern representative said that all questions should be sent to the NTSB.
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