East Palestine Evacuation Order Lifted

The evacuation order for East Palestine that followed a Norfolk Southern derailment was lifted on Wednesday afternoon.

Residents within a mile radius of the derailment site had been ordered to leave their homes because of a potential health threat posed by hazardous chemicals leaking from derailed tank cars.

Various government agencies continue to monitor the air and water quality in the vicinity of the derailment. Those living within the evacuation zone have been offered an air-quality check of their home.

A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency official said the air quality in East Palestine is safe.

However, some roads near the derailment site remain closed as workers continue to clean up the site. NS said some grade crossings are expected to remain closed for several weeks due to the cleanup efforts.

A family assistance center NS set up near East Palestine will remain open for an undetermined period of time.

A U.S. Environmental Protection Agency official said the air quality in East Palestine is safe.

The derailment occurred Friday night. The 150-car manifest freight was headed for Conway Yard near Pittsburgh from Madison, Illinois, near St. Louis.

Officials have said 50 cars derailed and 10 of them contained hazardous materials.

The derailment has disrupted Amtrak’s Chicago-Washington Capitol Limited.

Nos. 29 and 30 have not departed from their respective terminals since last Thursday. Amtrak’s website on Thursday morning showed both trains as slated to operate today, although that could change.

In a related development the owner of an East Palestine business has filed the first lawsuit in connection with the derailment.

Harold Feezle, the owner of a used car business, filed a class-action suit in a federal court. The suit accuses NS of negligence, nuisance, and trespass.

A couple who were forced to evacuate their home, David and Susan Scheufele, are also listed as plaintiffs in the lawsuit. They allege they suffered injuries from toxic chemicals and fumes.

The suit seeks a court order allowing others affected by the derailment’s aftermath to be able to join the case That includes those living within two miles of the derailment site, those forced to evacuate their home and those who claim to have been exposed to toxic materrials.

In the lawsuit, the plaintiffs allege that NS was negligence in its operation of the derailed train and for not addressing track and rail car defects.

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