Explosion possible after train derailment in Ohio using hazardous materials

As federal investigators tried to figure out why a 150-car train derailed in northeast Ohio, the state’s governor warned late Sunday night that unstable temperatures in a train carrying chemicals could lead to an explosion.

The area most at risk of Friday’s crash, which is within a 1-mile radius of the East Palestine village crash, was evacuated by early Saturday and remained closed, officials said.

But Gov. Mike DeWine’s office said about 500 residents remained within the 1-mile zone. It said they had received an “urgent warning” to evacuate.

“There has been a dramatic change in temperature in the rail car over the past two hours and there is now a possibility of a catastrophic tank car failure that could lead to an explosion with a deadly shrapnel flying up to a mile away,” the governor said. the department said in a statement.

The administration of the governor said that residents living with children could be arrested. He cited a threat made by the D.C. sheriff’s office.

At 8:00 pm, the governor ordered Ohio National Guard troops to go to East Palestine to assist local authorities, his office said.

Several small explosions or fire outbreaks occurred at the crash site after several vehicles believed to be carrying hazardous materials exploded on derailment, reported at 8:55 p.m. Friday, and continued to burn Sunday morning.

The wreckage included about 50 vehicles that had drifted off the track, officials said. National Transportation Safety Board member Michael Graham identified at least 10 of them on Sunday as “dirty vehicles” or vehicles carrying hazardous materials or chemicals. It is reported that five of them were transporting a dangerous chemical – vinyl chloride.

A train aficionado whose backyard faces the east-west railroad used by Norfolk Southern said the area of ​​the crash was a straight section.

On Sunday, officials said federal investigators were focusing in part on the role of a possible mechanical failure.

According to Graham at a press conference, the train’s crew reported that an alarm indicating such a malfunction sounded just before the accident.

In addition, two videos of the train obtained by NTSB investigators show one of the carriages may have had a broken or faulty axle, Graham said Sunday.

The crew — a driver, a conductor and a trainee conductor — were able to help stop the train on Friday evening and then disconnect three engines from the cars, many of which caught fire, officials said. No injuries were initially reported.

Vinyl chloride, which is highly flammable, has been linked to an increased risk of cancer and can be harmful to health at the level of odor that people can smell.

A chemical used to make polyvinyl chloride (PVC) pipes, car upholstery and picnic utensils has been linked to an increased risk of liver, brain and lung cancers, as well as some blood cancers, according to the Centers for Diseases. Control and prevention.

EPA officials have been in East Palestine since Friday evening monitoring air and water, two EPA officials said at a news conference Sunday.

In a statement on Saturday, an East Palestine village said that “zero health risk” had not been found so far.

“Drinking water in the village is potable and is under constant control,” the report said.

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