East Palestine families evacuate homes for controlled explosion after train derailment

Published: Feb. 6, 2023 at 7:24 PM EST
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EAST PALESTINE, Ohio (WOIO) - People living in the “red zone” of the controlled chemical release after the East Palestine train derailment were evacuated on Monday.

Don Elzer and his wife live within the “red zone.”

Their house is three blocks from where a train carrying hazardous chemicals derailed in East Palestine.

[ Controlled release of gas occurs in East Palestine following train derailment ]

Since Elzer evacuated his home over the weekend, he has no idea yet on when he will be able to return.

“We didn’t know how long we’d be gone so we grabbed what we’d need for a couple of days,” Elzer said. “If it turns into a couple of weeks, we’ll be at the store buying things and make do without them.”

Officials in East Palestine did a “controlled burn” to eliminate further danger to the community Monday afternoon.

Five of the tankers were filled with vinyl chloride, a dangerous chemical that can cause cancer.

[ Chemical burned in controlled explosion from East Palestine train derailment is vinyl chloride ]

Officials hope the controlled release will prevent the tankers from exploding.

“I hope it goes the way they think it’s going to go,” Elzer said.

Elzer said East Palestine is a resilient town working together to get through this.

“Scared trying to figure what’s going on,” Elzer said. “Everyone has come by and said what can we do to help.”