A CNN Town Hall Report on the Decay of a Toxic Train Wreck in a Small Ohio Community: The Final Report by the National Transportation Safety Board
Nearly three weeks since the toxic train wreck in a small Ohio community, the National Transportation Safety Board is expected to release its preliminary report on the derailment.
The preliminary report by the National Transportation Safety Board doesn’t contain a definitive cause or draw conclusions, but it does reveal that the wheel of the train bearing was caught on camera before it derailed.
Residents of the East Palestine, Ohio, community, voiced their frustrations during a CNN town hall Wednesday night where they spoke to both Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine and Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw, demanding answers about the derailment and the cleanup since, and reassurance about their future.
“I don’t feel safe because I don’t know what the future holds for my town,” said lifelong resident Jessica Conard, whose family has lived in East Palestine for generations. “This has the potential to really decimate a small town like us.”
It’s been nearly three weeks since the train carrying hazardous chemicals derailed in the village. To help prevent a potentially worse disaster, crews conducted the controlled release of vinyl chloride from several train cars that were containing the chemical and burned it off in a pit. Black smoke could be seen over East Palestine for days.
Residents reported nausea, dizziness, and bloody noses on Wednesday, even though officials have repeatedly said that the air and water in the area is safe.
The Ohio Railroad Derailment Site in East Palestine: What is the Point of View for the Public Health? An Ohio State Attorney’s Office of Public Health
The slow down on that stretch of track was less than what the average train speed would be, according to documents filed by the Federal Railroad Authority.
The train was traveling 49 miles an hour between Alliance, Ohio, and Salem, Ohio, but it slowed down between Salem and East Palestine to about half that speed.
Courtney Newman, a mother and teacher in East Palestine, said since her family returned home, her son has had “bloody noses every day,” and she has had “skin issues.”
Another resident, Josh Hickman, said he is still staying at a hotel as he doesn’t feel safe returning home, but he’s had to come into the village a few times and experienced symptoms including headaches, dizziness and blood from his nose – and on Tuesday, sought treatment at the emergency room.
The US Environmental Protection Agency says that vinyl chloride is released when it breaks down and that there are other chemicals of concern at the site. All these chemicals can change when they break down or react with other things in the environment, creating a stew of potential toxins.
“We’re getting everything we need, except answers,” East Palestine Mayor Trent Conaway said Wednesday. We need answers about the health concerns.
While speaking during the town hall, the governor of Ohio stressed he didn’t want to downplay the medical issues that might be related to the train wreck.
Medical teams from the US Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention and the US Department of Health and Human Services will also be on the ground this week at DeWine’s request, he said Friday.
The state opened a health assessment clinic for people who have concerns about their symptoms being related to the wreck. The clinic includes nurses, toxicologists and mental health professionals, and can provide residents with referrals if needed, according to the Ohio Department of Health.
How Well Will Norfolk Southern Prevent the Evaporation of contaminated Soil After the Wreck Investigation? Richmond City Supervisor Xandra Shaw
Despite repeated questions from frustrated residents, Shaw, the CEO of Norfolk Southern, declined answering questions regarding the wreck investigation and details about what may have caused the derailment, saying he was “prohibited” from talking about the probe.
Shaw said that they would reimburse the citizens and invest in the community’s long term health. “I’m going to see this through, and we’re going to be here. We will work with the community leaders to help you thrive.
If Norfolk Southern decided not to obey the order, the EPA would step in and perform these duties, without interruption, while making the company pay up to $70,000 a day in fines. “And the law gives us the authority to charge Norfolk Southern up to three times the amount that the cleanup will cost us.”
Last week the contaminated soil became a point of contention after a public document didn’t list soil removal as one of the activities that had been completed. The impact of the soil that was not removed before the railroad reopened on February 8 is not yet known.
DeWine said 4,588 cubic yards of soil and 1.1 million gallons of contaminated water have been removed so far from East Palestine. The railroad tracks will also be taken up so that the soil can be removed, the governor has said.
In a Wednesday update, DeWine reiterated test results showed water coming from East Palestine’s municipal system was safe to drink, but said officials will continue testing the water weekly to ensure it remains clean.
Health authorities have also tested water from at least 74 private wells and those results are pending. Residents who get their water from private wells – which may be closer to the surface than municipal wells – should continue drinking bottled water until they receive their test results, the governor said.
Officials are also continuing to treat contamination in a creek that runs through the town, while water quality in a second body of water in the area “continues to improve, according to the governor. No vinyl chloride was detected in the waterways, the update said.
“Since I (got) home from evacuating, I’m still not using the water because I never know if … they’re telling the truth or it’s a lie,” resident Nene Stewart said during the town hall. I drink bottled water. I can not. I’m not trusting what they’re saying. I have no idea who is telling the truth.
The crash of a passenger train in Athens-Thessaloniki, Greece, kills 32 people and injures 85
Rescue workers are in a desperate search for survivors after a head-on collision between two trains in central Greece killed dozens of people and injured scores.
TEMPE, Greece — A passenger train carrying hundreds of people collided at high speed with an oncoming freight train in a fiery wreck in northern Greece, killing 32 and injuring at least 85, officials said Wednesday.
“We just heard a bang… the (train) car started spinning, before ending up sideways when we managed to exit,” one male passenger told Greek public broadcaster ERT.
The Greek Fire Service said that the recovery effort was focused on the first two carriages of the passenger train. The death toll is expected to rise.
The passenger train from Athens to Thessaloniki is renown for its festivals and vibrant cultural life in the second-largest city in Greece. A public holiday on Monday, followed by a nationwide carnival at the weekend resulted in the collision.
Images on Greece’s state owned public broadcaster EET showed thick smoke from the toppled carriages as rescue vehicles lined up next to them.
Greek Fire Service spokesman Vassilis Varthakogiannis said 194 passengers had been taken safely to Thessaloniki and 20 people transferred by bus to the city of Larissa. He added that of the 85 people injured, 53 remained in hospital.
350 people are on the passenger train from Athens to Thessaloniki, according to Hellenic Train.
The crash site of a high-speed train colliding with two passengers in Athens and Macedonia near the Tempe train interchange on Tuesday
Multiple cars derailed and at least three burst into flames after the collision near the town of Tempe on Tuesday just before midnight. The scene was illuminated with spotlights before dawn on Wednesday as rescue crews searched for survivors in the twisted, smoking wreck.
Several passengers were thrown out of the train cars by the impact. They said others fought to free themselves after the passenger train buckled, slamming into a field next to the tracks near a gorge about 380 kilometers (235 miles) north of Athens where major highway and rail tunnels are located.
“The front section of the train was smashed. … We’re getting cranes to come in and special lifting equipment clear the debris and lift the rail cars. There’s debris flung all around the crash site.”
There is a gorge that separates the regions of Thessaly and Macedonia. Costas Agorastos, the regional governor of the Thessaly area, told Greece’s Skai television the two trains crashed head on at high speed.
Rescuers wearing head lamps worked in thick smoke, pulling pieces of mangled metal from the cars to search for trapped people. Others scoured the field with flashlights and checked underneath the wreckage. Several of the dead are believed to have been found in the restaurant area near the front of the passenger train.
The process of shutting down the train services is ongoing due to the severity of the collision between the trains, stated Vassilis Varthakopoulos, a spokesman for Greece’s firefighting service.
The tragedy of the August 24th Hellenic Train collision in the state of Tempe, Greece: Prime Minister Kostas Karamanlis resigned after the crash
A teenage survivor who did not give his name told reporters that just before the crash he felt a strong braking and saw sparks and then there was a sudden stop.
This is not the first time the question of what caused the train crash in Ohio has been asked in U.S. media.
Though the trains appeared to be traveling on a double-track line, both trains appeared to be moving on the same track, heading towards each other. There was a head-on crash between the passenger train and the freight train that happened just before midnight in the town of Tempe.
The Greek Fire Service has more than 150 firefighters and paramedics on the scene. The crews are using cranes and construction equipment to help move some of the heaviest chunks of steel.
According to several government sources, 66 people were hospitalized, and at least six are still in intensive care as of Wednesday. 130 people were injured.
The ERT also reported that the current death toll stands at 36 but is expected to rise as more victims are identified, a task that’s been complicated because temperatures exceeded 2,300 degrees Fahrenheit when fires broke out in the first three carriages.
According to a statement shared in local media, Transport Minister Kostas Karamanlis resigned on Wednesday after visiting the crash scene, saying he felt it was his “duty” to step down “as a sign of respect for the memory of the people who died so unjustly.”
Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis echoed that statement on Wednesday, saying in a tweet that “we will find out the causes of this tragedy and do everything in our power to make sure it never happens again.”
The station master from the city is facing a manslaughter charge, according to the report. The Hellenic Train employee denied any wrongdoing and claimed that the accident may have been a technical failure.
It can take a long time to get a full picture of what happened. Greek Railroad Workers Union President Yannis Nitsas said that the two drivers of the freight train were among the nine rail employees killed in the crash, reports the Associated Press.
The operator of the line said in a statement that its “primary and exclusive concern” was to complete the rescue process and that dozens of routes were canceled on Wednesday.
A reporter for the AP in Athens told NPR’s Up First that the collision will likely spark a debate about rail safety. The one going on in the US, following the aftermath of an Ohio train wreck, may look a lot like this one.
The question of whether lines, systems and signaling were properly inspected during the sale has already arisen due to the collision.