○On the evening of February 3rd, I was at home in Eastern Palestine. Ohio, when I was watching a movie with my granddaughters, I got a call from my daughter, Addison, and asked, “Dad, what’s going on downtown?” When I looked out the window, the sky was shining orange. I stopped the movie to talk to her daughter, but she hung up. 10 minutes later she called me back and said “I’ll pick you up”.
We tried to figure out what had happened, but it was like we were in a cloud, with smoke billowing overhead. A freight train in southern Norfolk derails. I could see the flames on the roofs of nearby houses, and I could feel the heat from hundreds of feet away. A huge cloud of smoke was spreading over our town from the crash site.
We initially thought a coal train had caught fire.we Have learned Subsequently, 38 vehicles carrying industrial supplies derailed, including at least 11 vehicles carrying hazardous chemicals. A further 12 cars were damaged in the fire. The cargo spilled from the train contained vinyl chloride, a chemical that causes liver cancer.
People near the derailment site were ordered to evacuate in case of an explosion. The rest of us were told to evacuate there. By the next morning, Saturday, the air was filled with smog. I was supposed to take my daughters to a school basketball game. I told them to pull the hoodie up to their mouth.
EPA officials said Sunday that no contaminants were detected in the air. But the granddaughters had spots on their bodies. It looked like a burn, as if I had spent too much time next to a sun lamp. My 7 year old granddaughter’s feet were red as beets. They were coughing and their eyes were hot. I began experiencing constant headaches and a persistent cough.
My wife’s cousin is a cancer researcher at Stanford University. She called us and said, “Get the girls out of there.” The rail company gave us a voucher for two nights in the hotel so we drove to the inn about 25 miles away.
On February 6, authorities decided to “burn off” the PVC rather than risk it exploding. EPA said: small rise Toxins were present near the burn site, which was to be expected. Dead fish began to appear in the river.
After a few days out of town, my granddaughter’s rash started to subside, but we all kept coughing. I have always been an athlete. I don’t smoke, I don’t drink, and I’ve been a pretty decent basketball player over the years. It’s the first time I’ve ever had a cough like this.
On February 8, authorities lifted the evacuation order. The EPA said testing showed the air and water to be safe. We didn’t trust that assessment. Some of my family went to relatives’ homes in West Virginia. Every time I go to East Palestine to see how the house is, the headaches start again.
Six weeks have passed since the earthquake. I’m afraid of the night because I can’t stop coughing when I sleep on my side. Recently my 35 year old wife woke me up because my breathing was so bad. She said it sounded like water in her lungs. Others have had similar experiences. The ER doctor says it’s chemical bronchitis.
I lost 15 pounds due to stress and anxiety. In addition to unexpected expenses, I am also paying for the purchase of a house I do not live in, and I am still unsure if insurance will be available. They keep saying “chemical spills” are out of scope. Others are even less fortunate – they cannot afford to leave. Our friend’s son keeps getting nosebleeds.
Before the derailment, I was a happy grandfather who could see his granddaughter at home every day. Now my family is torn apart and we live on suitcases. We are working hard on our online school every day. Girls long for our lives to return to the way they used to be.
We all have moments when our hearts break. We just want to go home. I am a 61 year old man and I have never cried so much in my life. My daughter Addison is a very, very strong woman. She started working at her bank four and a half years before her, and within three years she was heading her own branch. And she, she calls me every other day she cries.
I can’t believe the claims of the government and railway companies that our town is safe. You may not want to say they are lying, but they are. Some families have no intention of returning at all. it breaks my heart. We have a very close-knit community here.
The best-case scenario at this point is to cleanse the town thoroughly until independent scientists can say it’s safe. Once we have real confidence and the symptoms stop occurring, perhaps the town can begin to return to normal.
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2023/mar/27/ohio-train-derailment-chemicals-health I live near a chemical spill in East Palestine. Officials who say we are safe are lying.Greg Masher