East Palestine, OH

A train derailed in northeast Ohio, sparking a huge fire.

Sherif Saad

TrainPhoto byMelanie HughesonUnsplash
( CNN ) - Following a railroad disaster that resulted in a large fire and worries about the quality of the air, evacuation and shelter-in-place orders are still in force in a community in northeastern Ohio.

The National Transportation Safety Board reports that a Norfolk Southern train carrying more than 100 cars derailed near East Palestine, roughly 15 miles south of Youngstown.

The train had 20 hazardous material-filled carriages, 10 of which derailed. The NTSB said Saturday night that out of the 10, five were carrying vinyl chloride.

The agency continued, "We have not established that vinyl chloride has been leaked in any way other than via the pressure release devices."

Michael Graham, a member of the NTSB board, stated in a news conference earlier on Saturday that the area was still an "active fire scene" and he was unable to predict when the flames would be extinguished. On Saturday, the cause of the derailment remained unknown.

According to investigators, the train was equipped with cameras and data recorders. According to Graham, the NTSB won't have a preliminary report on the crash for four to six weeks. There were no reported injuries.

According to Graham, one vehicle had a safety release valve that allowed some vinyl chloride to escape. According to state environmental inspectors, no dangerous concentrations of the chemical have been found in the neighborhood.

According to the National Cancer Institute of the federal government, exposure to the colorless gas vinyl chloride raises the chance of developing several types of cancer.

As of Saturday night, no dangerously high concentrations of chemicals had been found in the air, an Ohio Environmental Protection Agency representative emailed CNN.

According to Ohio EPA spokesperson James Lee, "Ohio EPA will stay on site, and air monitors will remain in place for as long as required." The Ohio EPA has set up containment to help reduce any harm that water runoff from battling the fire may cause to nearby waterways and rivers.

According to Lee, the agency will cooperate with local government representatives and the training industry to "determine the type and extent" of any potential pollution and will make sure that cleaning activities safeguard both the environment and human health.

A shelter-in-place order was issued by authorities for the whole town of around 5,000 residents, and as of early Saturday morning, an evacuation order was in force within a mile of the James Street railroad crossing.

Conaway said that he had no idea when the restrictions might be eased. According to Trent Conaway, the mayor of East Palestine, two shelters for evacuees were opened, and the Red Cross has been informed.

On Saturday, Conaway demanded that "all necessary emergency authorities" be used to safeguard the lives and property of the Village of East Palestine, Ohio, citizens. The edict urged everyone to follow the emergency procedures.

The one-mile evacuation order from the event is still in effect "until further notice," according to Traci Spratt, the interim manager of the town of East Palestine. She also emphasized that "we urge everyone to keep away from the situation."

Additionally, Spratt stated that authorities were "continually monitoring the air and have discovered no health dangers."

Spratt continued, "The village's drinking water is safe to consume and is being continuously checked." Images from the site showed a thick, wide cloud of smoke enveloping the train's roof in flames. According to Conaway, firefighters from three different states—West Virginia, Ohio, and Pennsylvania—responded.

Josh Shapiro, the governor of Pennsylvania, stated on Saturday that he had been briefed on the disaster and that state officials were "prepared to support our neighbors."

According to the NTSB, the Norfolk Southern train left Madison, Illinois, and was headed toward Conway, Pennsylvania, when it derailed.

According to a statement from Norfolk Southern Railway, its team members are on-site and they are "coordinating with federal, state, and local officials." To "address the needs of the community and support those immediately impacted," the corporation said it established a family assistance center.

In addition, the corporation said that it had donated $25,000 to help the American Red Cross and its temporary community shelters. Norfolk Southern has been contacted by CNN for more comment.

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