East Palestine family cast as extras in a Netflix film call train derailment ‘eerily similar’

Published: Feb. 11, 2023 at 10:27 PM EST
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EAST PALESTINE, Ohio (WOIO) - It has been just over a week since 50 railcars, some carrying toxic and explosive chemicals jumped the tracks in East Palestine, causing a catastrophe of monumental proportions. However for one family, the derailment and subsequent chemical release was a movie scene brought to life.

Ben Ratner and his family, casted as extras in Netflix’s ‘White Noise’, are longtime residents of the village who continue to hope the help and attention from Norfolk Southern doesn’t stop as the news begins to fade.

Ratner says he waited three days after the evacuation order was lifted to move his family back into their home. The family is still waiting for testing to be performed just for peace of mind.

The family featured in the film, led by Adam Driver, said the plot was eerily similar to the catastrophe that played out in real life on the tracks, “Living through it, you get a different perspective,” Ratner said. “It’s hard in some ways, because it hits close to home but you can’t really capture the range of emotions we’ve been through.”

The Ratner family lives just under a mile away from where the massive train derailment happened, fire and controlled explosion happened, and unlike what you see in the movies, Ben Ratner says the sound of a train on the tracks on the heels of this disaster is somewhat unsettling.

“The order was lifted on the evacuation and within an hour or half hour the trains were already rolling through. So, those trains already had to be on their way,” Ratner said.

But, if there’s a light at the end of the tunnel, Ratner says the trains have definitely slowed down for safety, and are using their whistle’s more frequently then before the derailment disaster, “They’re going much slower than they were before. So, paying attention safety wise. I believe it’s the law that they have to blow their whistle three times at each intersection.”

The Ratner family joins an entire community worried about the impact of the derailment, fire and controlled explosion on their health and the environment.

Ratner said how the real life story plays out in the next few months or years will tell the true story, and he hopes Norfolk Southern will ensure they keep coming back to monitor the air and water quality to ensure there is no long term impact.