Let’s Explore The Ohio Derailment

The derailment of a Norfolk Southern freight train in East Palestine, Ohio has been a catastrophe. Many people including yourself are probably wondered how it happened? Also, you’re probably wondering what the outcome will be? Let’s explore the Ohio Derailment!

How This Train Derailment Happened?

February 3rd, 2023


A freight train from Madison, Illinois was on its way to Conway, Pennsylvania. It was a 2-mile-long Norfolk Southern train with 150 cars.

The payload included wheat, frozen vegetables, cement as well as chemicals.

Chemicals Included:

  • Vinyl Chloride
  • Butyl Acrylate
  • Ethylhexyl Acrylate
  • Ethylene Glycol Mono Butyl Ether

At 9pm, a mechanical issue with a rail axle on one of the cars caused the train to derail near East Palestine. At least 38 train cars derailed and caused a fire that damaged an additional 12 train cars.

There were 11 derailed train cars that carried hazardous material, including the cancer causing vinyl chloride. The derailment resulted in a crash that caused a fire that spanned the length of the derailed cars.

The crash led to the release of vinyl chloride, which releases other chemicals when it burns. For example, burning vinyl chloride releases phosgene gas, a chemical used as a weapon during the First World War.

Exposure to these chemicals is harmful to humans, they cause eye irritation as well as dizziness and nausea.

Because of the risk of exposure to these chemicals as well as the possibility they could explode, firefighters could not put the fire out right away.

February 6th, 2023

According to Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R), the officials watching the situation were concerned about one of the train cars exploding due to a rising temperature. Also, vinyl chloride is highly flammable and potentially explosive.

If an explosion happened, it would’ve been “catastrophic”. Authorities ordered 1,500 residents who lived near by were ordered to evacuate. In order to prevent an explosion, a controlled release of vinyl chloride was started.

What Are The Outcomes?

Let’s explore some of the outcomes of the Ohio Train Derailment!

Norfolk Southern’s Bottom Line

Since the Ohio train derailment happened on February 3rd, Norfolk Southern’s bottom line has taken a hit.

According to JP Morgan, Norfolk Southern’s stock price has dropped by 10%. That’s at least $5 billion dollars of market value. Also, it’s hard to predict what their stock price will be in the future.

Costs related to the East Palestine train derailment could cost as much as $50 million. Also, as of February 22nd, the EPA said they could fine Norfolk Southern as much as $70,000 a day if it doesn’t follow through on cleaning up the derailment site.

There are already at least 9 lawsuits against Norfolk Southern. The suits seek class-action status with more than $5 million in damages.

There have been claims of not only negligence but also carelessness that led to the East Palestine train derailment. One lawsuit alleges that a train car was “sparking” and “burning” 20 minutes before it reached East Palestine.

Uncertainty Among East Palestine Residents

The February 3rd train derailment already has many outcomes among East Palestine residents.

When vinyl chloride was intentionally released from 5 train cars, residents who lived nearby felt like their town was “nuked”. Also, when the evacuation order was lifted, they felt that the information received about what happened wasn’t accurate.

East Palestine residents were told by authorities that it was safe to return to their homes. Many of them started asking questions about how “safe” it actually was.

The fallout of the chemical plume resulted in dead or dying livestock including chickens. Many people found their pets either sick, dying or dead. Also, in nearby rivers, dead fish were found.

Residents experienced acute effects of the chemical fallout including burning throats, skin burns when bathing as well as chemical pneumonia.

After seeing dead animals and experiencing short-term effects, residents felt like they were being gaslit by authorities not just from Ohio but also at the Federal Level including the ones from the EPA.


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