East Palestine, Ohio, a community of around 5,000 people located close to Pennsylvania’s border, has been affected by the derailment of a train carrying pressurized vinyl chloride, a highly flammable carcinogenic gas.
Update: The NTSB mentioned a video from Salem, Ohio, which is about 20 miles from East Palestine and shows sparks and flames erupting from beneath the train, during a news conference. When the train was passing through Salem, a surveillance camera caught what appeared to be a structural problem with it. Michael Graham, a board member for the NTSB, claimed that two videos they had acquired demonstrated technical problems with the rail car axles that most likely caused the derailment.
A processing facility near a hotbox detector that measures the temperature of the axles as trains pass by captured the second footage of the train as it passed through Salem. Graham claims that just prior to the derailment in East Palestine, the crew was informed of a mechanical problem by an alarm caused by the roadside defect detector reading. The emergency brake application that the train made as a result of that alert may have led to the derailment. In order to determine the cause of the derailment and which hotbox detector indicated a mechanical issue prior to the accident, the NTSB is currently evaluating the train data and audio recordings. Within 30 days, the NTSB is anticipated to provide a preliminary report on its findings.
A little town in Ohio is engulfed in what appears to be the apocalypse as the US government spends millions of dollars on treating balloons as an existential problem. The commotion around Chinese espionage aircraft’ intrusions of US airspace may have been done on purpose to prevent news coverage from being given to what is quickly emerging as one of the worst environmental catastrophes in recent memory.
The commotion started early last week when a train carrying more than 100 cars derailed in East Palestine, Ohio, a community of around 5,000 people located close to Pennsylvania’s border. Fifty of those one hundred goods cars were thrown from the tracks by the accident. The train was hauling hazardous items in twenty goods carriages, ten of which were detailed. Although there were no fatalities in the collision, five of the 10 vehicles carried pressurized vinyl chloride, a highly flammable carcinogenic gas.
Subscribe to GreatGameIndia
The Ohio Emergency Management Agency carried out its plan to release the toxic gas with a controlled burn in order to avoid an uncontrolled explosion that posed a risk of catastrophic damage in order to address the volatile situation surrounding the accident site. In a statement outlining the decision to take action to prevent widespread destruction, Governor Mike DeWine warned that “within the last two hours, a drastic temperature change has taken place in a rail car, and there is now the potential of a catastrophic tanker failure which could cause an explosion with the potential of deadly shrapnel traveling up to a mile.”
However, while the flames from the controlled burn burned on for days, that process produced huge plumes of smoke into the air that contained vinyl chloride, phosgene, hydrogen chloride, and other chemicals. Particularly hazardous gases like phosphorus can make people throw up and have breathing issues. Because of its extreme toxicity, phosgene gas was once employed as a chemical weapon during the First World War.
Officials issued a mandatory evacuation and shelter-in-place orders within a mile of where the train crashed due to the dangerous airborne pollutants. Nearly 2,000 East Palestine inhabitants were evacuated from their houses as a result of the orders. Over 500 persons within the scope of the evacuation order refused to leave their houses, despite the proximity of the crash site posing a threat to public safety. The locals were able to return to the vicinity of the catastrophe after the orders were lifted on February 8th.
Watch the video below:
After the controlled burn, local officials received a number of alarming complaints from locals living outside the mile-long evacuation zone, indicating that the disaster’s urgency was far from resolved. Numerous animals on the property of one local farmer’s farm, Park Dairy, died suddenly. The farmer, Taylor Holzer, is also a certified fox keeper for the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Numerous foxes on Holzer’s property died as a result of the air quality in the vicinity after the controlled burn released chemical agents into the air.
“Out of nowhere, he [a fox] just started coughing really hard, just shut down,” Holzer recalled to local media outlet WKBN 27 News. “This is not how a fox should act. He is very weak, limp. His eyes are very watery and weepy. Smoke and chemicals from the train, that’s the only thing that can cause it, because it doesn’t just happen out of nowhere,” he added.
“The chemicals that we’re being told are safe in the air, that’s definitely not safe for the animals…or people.
Reports from other locals who experienced similar circumstances close to their own residences reinforced Holzer’s worries. Katlyn Schwarzwaelder, the owner of a neighborhood dog kennel in nearby Darlington, Pennsylvania, was one of those occupants. Despite the fact that her house was more than ten miles from the site of the controlled burn, the calamity forced her to evacuate it. Schwarzwaelder claimed she received numerous reports of dead chickens, fish, and other animals from friends and acquaintances after escaping to Boardman, Ohio, 15 miles from the disaster. When an afflicted resident’s 2-year-old dog went outside to use the restroom, it never came back, the resident told Schwarzwaelder. They discovered their lost pet dead in their yard after starting a search for it.
According to testimony from Holzer, Schwarzwaelder, and others, the situation was not under control as claimed in the official narrative crafted by authorities. Given the pollutants’ ability to cause cancer, poor air quality puts the general people in danger of both short- and long-term health problems. Kevin Crist, a chemical and biomolecular engineering professor and the director of Ohio University’s Air Quality Center, claims that carcinogens like vinyl chloride can cause cancer in many organs, including the liver.
Although those in charge of the emergency response used methods like dispersion modeling to estimate and reduce the risk of chemicals that could become airborne, the chemicals that were distributed after the incident present other important concerns of contamination. Officials from the adjacent state shut down water production in the area and turned to alternative sources of water supply after chemicals spilled into the Ohio River and towards West Virginia. Another big issue that makes policymakers wary of wider public health repercussions than those related to air pollution alone is soil contamination.
However, it appears that the leadership in the various disaster-affected nations has not taken into account the scope of those threats. Josh Shapiro, the governor of Pennsylvania, said there were no issues with the area’s air or water quality. But the governor reaffirmed that Pennsylvanians living within two miles of East Palestine were still required to shelter in place. Similar comments were made by representatives of the Environmental Protection Agency, who claimed nothing untoward had been observed during the controlled burn. The EPA’s James Justice succinctly stated, “So far, so good, and we’re going to continue to monitor until the fire is out.”
Watch the video below:
The emergency response may end up being a case of a treatment being worse than the sickness it aims to treat, even though the immediate risks posed by a potential explosion following the train’s accident may have been avoided. The incidents also shed new light on the status of safety standards governing the train transportation of hazardous cargo. In the Pittsburgh metropolitan area alone, there have been eight train derailments in the last five years, prompting calls for more regulation of the sector.
The US Department of Transportation passed a rule to broaden the range of hazardous products that can be transported by rail despite the inherent danger that comes with carrying chemicals like vinyl chloride. Liquefied natural gas could now be transported by train without the need for additional safety measures thanks to the legislation. This makes it possible for freight trains to transport 100 additional tank cards each holding up to 30,000 gallons of shale gas.
The National Transportation Safety Board stated in a comment in support of the proposed rule that “the hazards of catastrophic liquefied natural gas escapes in accidents is too considerable not to have operational controls in place before big blocks of tank cars and unit trains proliferate.” In response to such a remark, opponents of the rule pointed out that the potential detonation of just 22 liquefied natural gas-filled tank cards had the same explosive force as the atomic bomb that was detonated in Hiroshima in the closing stages of World War II.
A humanitarian and environmental catastrophe unlike anything recently witnessed in the United States is the current crisis in East Palestine. The images from East Palestine appear to be lifted directly from a horror movie about nuclear winter.
Last Month, local officials officially deemed Joshimath catastrophe-prone and contacted technical and disaster management teams to inspect the growing devastation as the holy Himalayan town sinks into the earth.
In spite of this, national media outlets continue to run sensationalist headlines on problems that seem insignificant in comparison, obscuring the significance of this topic from the public’s view. It is an example of history being changed in the present, creating a precedent that would allow the victims of other major disasters to be forgotten. The images of the horror engulfing this small town in the middle of America, however, may make it impossible to ignore this catastrophe, bringing to light the shortcomings of state and federal agencies in charge of emergency response management, whose ongoing lack of accountability allows them to repeatedly fail the American public.