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Hazardous train derailment causes evacuation and controlled burn in Ohio-Pennsylvania border

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Residents near the Ohio-Pennsylvania state line have been evacuated since last Friday when a tanker train derailed, causing a fire that led to a controlled release of toxic chemicals. The incident took place in the small village of East Palestine, Ohio, near the border with Pennsylvania and home to roughly 4,700 residents. Half of the residents were warned to evacuate before the controlled release of hazardous materials from five of the derailed cars that were in danger of exploding took place on Monday afternoon. The controlled burn resulted in a large ball of fire and black smoke visible from the derailment site.

As of Monday night, the 1-mile mandatory evacuation zone remains in place with no timeline for residents’ return. No injuries were reported from the crash of 50 cars of a Norfolk Southern Railroad train traveling from Illinois to Pennsylvania. Mechanical issues and air quality concerns have hindered the containment of the fire at the derailment site. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Ohio EPA are monitoring air quality, which is not concerning as of now.

The train derailed on Friday night and ten of the cars were transporting hazardous materials, including five with vinyl chloride. The National Transportation Safety Board found preliminary indications of mechanical issues on one of the car’s axle, and the train’s emergency brake was activated after an alarm went off.


The office of Ohio Governor Mike DeWine released a statement warning that “the vinyl chloride contents of five rail cars are currently unstable and could potentially explode, causing deadly disbursement of shrapnel and toxic fumes.” Pennsylvania Governor Josh Shapiro confirmed that the controlled release and burn went as planned, and no concerning readings have been detected.

In conclusion, the train derailment in Ohio-Pennsylvania border caused the evacuation of residents and a controlled burn of hazardous chemicals. The air quality is being monitored by authorities and is currently not concerning. The rail operator, Norfolk Southern Railroad, considers the controlled burn a success.

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