'How Should Us Kids Feel Safe?' Ohio Residents Fear Contamination After Toxic Train Derailment and Fire
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Residents of East Palestine, Ohio, where a train with toxic chemicals derailed and burned two weeks ago, packed a school gym Wednesday evening, wanting to know if it's still safe to live in their town.
During public input, a boy asked officials, "How should us kids feel safe in the street?"
A local woman said, "My grandson who's 11 has multiple rashes in his extremities."
A Norfolk Southern train carrying an estimated one million pounds of vinyl chloride – a chemical used to make plastic – derailed February 3rd, causing a fire that burned for days and prompting officials to carry out a controlled burn of hazardous chemicals.
Five thousand East Palestine residents were evacuated.
They were allowed back last week, but some are reporting soar throats, burning eyes, and vomiting.
Many pets died as did thousands of fish in local waterways.
Norfolk Southern did not come to the community meeting yesterday, citing security concerns, saying in a statement, "We know that many are rightfully angry and frustrated right now. We have become increasingly concerned about the growing physical threat to our employees."
State officials insist the city water supply is safe.
Gov. Mike DeWine was asked how he can reassure people who feel at risk because the odor from the chemicals is still in the air. DeWine said, "The only thing we can do is simply tell them what the scientists tell us and that the smell can linger and be there long after when there's no discernible problem with the air."
A class action lawsuit has already been filed against Norfolk Southern. Ohio's Attorney General says he's also considering legal action against the rail operator.
Republican Senators Marco Rubio and J.D. Vance sent a letter to U.S. Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg on Wednesday questioning his oversight of the U.S. freight rail system.
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