Derailed Train In Northeast Ohio Threatens 'Catastrophic' Explosion

By Taylor Linzinmeir

February 6, 2023

Photo: Getty Images

Governor Mike DeWine is warning residents about a potentially "catastrophic" explosion in their small northeast Ohio town.

The threat of an explosion emerged last night (February 5) when a derailed train car experienced a drastic temperature change. DeWine said a "catastrophic tanker failure" could cause a blast that would send deadly shrapnel flying up to a mile away. In addition, Columbiana County Sheriff Brian McLaughlin said there was "a high probability of toxic gas release and or explosion." Local, state and federal authorities have been at the site to prevent a blast and monitor the air quality.

DeWine issued an evacuation order yesterday evening for people living within a mile of a derailed train in East Palestine. While the majority of residents left before the evacuation order was issued, DeWine said at least 500 people refused. Families with children who fail to evacuate could face arrest.

The incident began on Friday (February 3) at about 9 a.m. local time. About 50 cars of a Norfolk Southern train heading eastbound from Madison, Illinois, to Conway, Pennsylvania, went off track in East Palestine. 10 of the 50 cars derailed contained hazardous materials, including vinyl chloride. The derailment led to a fire that lasted for days and caused a strong odor around the area. Luckily, no injuries were reported.

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