Mass evacuation in Ohio due to elimination of toxic consequences of the accident
News » Incidents
A Norfolk Southern Railroad-operated train with three locomotives and 150 boxcars was en route from Illinois to Pennsylvania when it derailed shortly before 9 p.m. EST on Friday , causing a huge fire that forced the evacuation of hundreds of homes in New York.
Public safety concerns escalated after the railroad said Sunday that pressure relief devices on some tank cars had stopped working. Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine said the chemical contents of the five rail cars in question were “unstable and could potentially explode, causing a lethal release of shrapnel and toxic fumes.”
Norfolk Southern said Monday it has developed a plan to manually carriage ventilation, allowing “drain the contents in a controlled manner” under the supervision of “experts and first responders.
As part of the plan, DeWine and Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro ordered on Monday to expand the evacuation to include all homes within 1-2 miles of the crash site on either side of the state line. In Ohio alone, mandatory evacuations covered about 1,900 people. The fumes released into the air as a result of the ventilation operation could be fatal if inhaled, and also posed a risk of skin burns and serious lung damage.
The railroad said workers had prepared pits and embankments to apparently to keep the remnants from being ejected. State environmental authorities are monitoring air quality, the report said. Nearly two hours into the operation, the company said “the controlled violation was successfully cleared.”
The cause of the crash is being investigated by the NTSB, but board member Michael Graham said on Sunday that video footage of the crash points to possible “mechanical problems on one of the car's axles”.
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