- Nearly two weeks after a toxic train derailment near the Ohio-Pennsylvania border, affected residents hope to voice their concerns to the railroad company involved.
- Shortly before the event, Trent Conway, the mayor of East Palestine, told its residents that the company, Norfolk Southern, pulled out of the meeting, citing safety concerns.
- Frustrations mounted during the hour-long informational meeting.
East Palestine, Ohio – When word spread it affected residents a massive train derailment Concerns and frustrations can be expressed directly to transport company Norfolk Southern on Wednesday evening The village appeared in hundreds,
East Palestine High School was as crowded as any resident had ever seen. More than any important basketball game. More than any pep rally.
But just before the incident, Mayor Trent Conaway told reporters that his residents would not have the opportunity to question the railroad company involved. February 3 incident, The mayor told his residents that Norfolk Southern walked out of the open house meeting, adding to tensions in an already packed and loud school gym.
“I want answers,” Conway said before the one-hour informational meeting, which was originally billed as a town hall. “Norfolk Southern didn’t show up. They didn’t think it was safe.”
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The mayor reiterated during the meeting that he invited Norfolk Southern “many times”.
“They were all at meetings, then today I got a phone call that they don’t feel safe,” Conway said to a crowd of local residents who screamed and booed. “I’m just as frustrated as you are… I’m trying to get answers. I can’t force them to stay here.”
Conway hosted members of state and federal environmental protection agencies, Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff, director of the Ohio Department of Health, and U.S. Representative Bill Johnson, R-Marietta, who tried to provide some answers to residents exposed to dangerous chemicals. We do. Air from derailment and through controlled burning.
East Palestine residents report illness, dead fish
Disappointments mounted. And while attendees tried to stay calm and composed, they made sure to emphasize why they’re being told everything is safe while dozens of residents are reporting illnesses and fish dying in their waters. .
“Why are people getting sick when there is nothing in the air or water,” shouted one woman.
This was a question to which no one had a straight answer.
Rep. Johnson said that everyone who started experiencing any kind of symptoms since February 3 should contact their doctor.
“Go to your doctor,” Johnson said. “Get that medical record. Let science tell us what that was.”
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Officials said that in some cases there may be an odor in the area but this may not mean that the air is at dangerous levels. He assured the people that they can make good use of their water.
‘a bomb dropped’
Before the event began, a line of hundreds of attendees waited outside. State and county police toured the event while food, books, water and toiletries were available in the school lobby for residents.
One man, Rob McFadden, walked from Canton with pallets of water bottles to hand out to attendees, noting that he just couldn’t sit back and do nothing.
“The city literally dropped a bomb on them,” he said.
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Heather Giraliko was one of those who struggled after the derailment and takedown. On Wednesday she came to the high school to ask for help.
Giraliko and her husband live within a mile of the derailment and were forced to evacuate. They stayed in a hotel for five nights and their workplaces were closed.
Now they are short of money and are waiting to be reimbursed by the Railways for their expenses.
“We have to clean our whole house and wash all our clothes and stuff again, so we just need some supplies… We just have to work until we get our reimbursement and again Don’t get paid,” Giraliko said as she grabbed laundry detergent and cleaning supplies to take home.
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