Officials lift evacuation order after Ohio train derailment

Feb. 9 (UPI) — Hundreds of Ohio and Pennsylvania residents near East Palestine, Ohio, returned to their homes Wednesday after they were evacuated after a train carrying vinyl chloride derailed Friday.

A joint statement from Ohio Gov. Mike Dewine and Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro said air quality samples in the affected area showed “readings at points below safety screening levels for contaminants of concern.

“Based on this information, state and local health officials determined that it is now safe for community members to return to their residences.”

The Norfolk Southern railroad did a controlled release and burn of the chemical to avoid a potential explosion, and that discharged toxic fumes into the air around East Palestine on Monday.

The governors said in the statement that there will be ongoing air monitoring in the area. The railroad has also hired an independent contractor to take air quality readings in homes, working with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and state officials to do it free of charge.

Residents will also get free testing of well water in the affected area. In the meantime, residents are urged to use bottled water supplied by Norfolk Southern, according to Dewine’s office.

Ten rail cars, five of them containing the dangerous vinyl chloride, derailed and evacuations were ordered.

NewsNation reporter Evan Lambert was arrested Wednesday and charged with disorderly conduct and criminal trespassing during a news conference for talking in a live report while Dewine was speaking.

Dewine did not personally order the reporter’s arrest, NewsNation reported. Lambert was released from custody Wednesday evening.

“It has always been my practice that if I’m doing a press conference, someone wants to report out there and they want to be talking back to the people back on channel, whatever, they have every right to do that,” DeWine said. “If someone was stopped from doing that, or told they could not do that, that was wrong. It was nothing that I authorized.”

A photographer with Lambert said police approached him and asked him to stop talking as he was doing a live news report. He finished the report but police tried to forcibly remove him from the press conference, resulting in his arrest, according to NewsNation.


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