East Palestine property owners to Norfolk Southern: ‘You broke it, you bought it’

Published: Jun. 23, 2023 at 5:17 PM EDT
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EAST PALESTINE, Ohio (WOIO) - Many families in East Palestine have been forced to leave their home after the toxic train derailment in February.

“I use the analogy of going bowling,” East Palestine resident Chase Kinder said. “You hit the king pin and the rest of the pins kind of scatter that’s our community.”

It has left them with so much uncertainty, especially when it comes to selling their properties.

Kinder has lived in East Palestine for nearly three decades, but now he is moving away so his family does not get sick from the chemicals that were released from the derailment.

“We have been dealing with an appraiser that is telling us real estate losses are sometimes in the 10% range, sometimes there is no loss,” Kinder said. “On average, he’s saying anywhere from 20 to 25% is being lost which is quite a bit of money.”

Norfolk Southern told residents, in May, anyone selling a property within five miles of the derailment site will be compensated for the decreased value.

“All we’ve really gotten from Norfolk Southern is a ton of stuff stating that, ‘We’re going to do this,’” Kinder said. “Well, it’s time to put the money where the mouth is. You broke it, you bought it.”

Norfolk Southern told 19 News they are still in the process of finalizing guidelines for the compensation program.

Kinder hopes he can find a buyer for his home, so his family can move somewhere safe.

“People don’t want to get rich. Let’s make that clear,” Kinder said. “We just want to get out be healthy, we want to be in a position where we can function and do the things we normally would do in our lives, That’s all we want.”