Why this East Palestine mom refuses to go home months after train derailment

Published: Jun. 27, 2023 at 6:12 PM EDT
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EAST PALESTINE, Ohio (WOIO) - For more than 150 days, an East Palestine family has been dealing with the stress of not being willing to return to their home.

Jami Wallace said her family was forced to evacuate their house after the toxic train derailment on February 3.

Wallace said she cherishes the precious moments of playing with her 3-year-old daughter in the backyard of their rental home, located 20 miles outside of East Palestine.

These moments have been few and far between in recent months.

“What I do have is stability for my daughter, stability for myself,” Wallace said. “Still doesn’t quite feel like home.”

Wallace said she has been sick ever since the vinyl chloride onboard the derailed train was released into the air through a controlled burn.

“I’ve had a couple of upper respiratory infections in my life. I’ve never had one that’s taken three rounds of antibiotics, three rounds of steroids and still not gone away,” Wallace said.

Despite the uncertainty of what their futures will look like, Wallace said she is not afraid to advocate so her daughter has a safe place to grow up.

“I will fight to the death for my daughter,” Wallace said. “It’s so important to me because I want her to look back on me and be proud and [know] my mom didn’t just sit back and let them do this to me.”