Controlled Release Undertaken at Derailment Site

A controlled release of the contents of a tank car involved in the East Palestine Norfolk Southern derailment was undertaken on Monday afternoon to lessen the chances of another explosion.

Before the release began, Ohio officials widened the evacuation order area around the derailment site.

Authorities warned those in the evacuation area would be in “grave danger of death” if they failed to leave and police threatened to arrest those who did not.

During the release flames shot skyward along with a thick black smoke plume. Some leaking chemicals continued to burn following the release.

The contents of the car were expected to drain into a trench and burn for a few hours.

One news report said two explosions could be heard during the release was scheduled to begin in mid-afternoon.

That may have been the sound of the explosives officials planned to use to open a hole in the tank car that was at risk of exploding.

In a service advisory to shippers, NS said it was too soon to say when it could resume operating trains on the Fort Wayne line through East Palestine.

The advisory said detours of trains were adding 24 hours of transit time between Cleveland and the Northeast via Pittsburgh.

Amtrak’s Capitol Limited that was scheduled to depart Chicago and Washington on Monday was shown as experiencing a “service disruption.”

On Monday, Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine visited East Palestine and attended a briefing at a school being used as a command center.

In announcing the expanded evacuation zone, East Palestine Fire Chief Keith Drabick said it was for the protection of residents.

If an explosion were to occur in one of the tank cars it could send hydrogen chloride and phosgene gas into the atmosphere, which could cause eye, skin, and respiratory irritation.

Columbiana County Sheriff Brian McLaughlin said those who didn’t evacuate would face a fourth-degree misdemeanor if adults are in the household or a first-degree misdemeanor if children are present, plus charges of endangering children.

Several roads around the derailment site were closed and being patrolled by police.

School, government office and some local businesses in East Palestine were closed on Monday.

The NS family assistance center to help those displaced by the evacuation orders was moved due to road closures to Abundant Life Fellowship Church in New Waterford.

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One Response to “Controlled Release Undertaken at Derailment Site”

  1. pwwoodring Says:

    To give an idea of what they are dealing with, Phosgene gas was used in chemical warfare in World War I, and is now banned as a weapon by international treaty. I would not look for Amtrak to resume running through the area before this weekend, on the optimistic side.

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