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BREAKING: A Train Carrying Hazardous Substances Derails in the US

BREAKING: A Train Carrying Hazardous Substances Derails in the US
photo: Courtesy Kevin Csernik, CNN/BREAKING: A Train Carrying Hazardous Substances Derails in the US
06 / 02 / 2023

A large-scale fire broke out in the United States after a train with more than 100 cars, 20 of which were carrying hazardous substances, derailed. The incident occurred in East Palestine, Ohio. It is reported that ten cars were transporting colourless vinyl chloride gas.

"We have not confirmed vinyl chloride has been released other than from the pressure release devices," the agency added.

The Norfolk Southern train reportedly departed from Madison, Illinois, and was headed to Conway, Pennsylvania, when it derailed. Norfolk Southern Railroad said that its team members were on the scene and added that actions were being "coordinated with federal, state and local agencies."

National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) board member Michael Graham said that the fire is still "active" and it was not known when it would be extinguished. It is noted that the release of vinyl chloride into the air has not yet been confirmed. Graham noted that one railroad car released some of the substance through a safety release valve. State environmental officials say they have not detected any harmful levels of the chemical in the community.

"Ohio EPA will remain on site, and air monitors will remain in place as long as necessary," Ohio EPA spokesperson James Lee said in a statement. "Ohio EPA has established containment to help limit any damage to local streams and rivers from water runoff from the firefighting."

According to the agency, experts will work with local officials and the railroad company to "determine the nature and extent" of any possible contamination, and ensure cleanup efforts are in place to protect human health and the environment.

The cause of the derailment is currently under investigation. According to investigators, the train was equipped with image and data recorders. The NTSB announced that it would receive a preliminary report on the accident within four to six weeks. No injuries have been reported.

In addition, officials issued an evacuation order within a mile of the railroad crossing, and shelters were opened for about 5,000 people. The mayor of East Palestine said that two evacuation stations had opened to provide shelter to residents, and the Red Cross organization was notified of the incident.