Train derailment, fire, evacuation in East Palestine
Officials in Columbiana County are responding to East Palestine following a train derailment and major fire that lit up the night sky for miles Friday night.
Initial calls came out shortly after 9 p.m. to the area of East Taggart Street along the railroad tracks that travel east-west through town.
East Palestine Mayor Trent Conaway says anyone within a mile of the train crossing at James Street needs to evacuate immediately. Everyone else is urged to stay at home and stay off the roads while the fire is cleared.
Conaway said during a news conference at midnight on Feb. 4 that the evacuation is in place until further notice.
Studio 25 at 24 North Market Street is open for people in need of a place to stay. A bus is taking people to East Palestine School District's gymnasium, which is offering a place for evacuees as well.
No injuries or fatalities are confirmed.
It's not known what the train was carrying at the time of the accident; witness photos show a large fire and plume of smoke. Dispatchers at East Palestine Police Department could not confirm any information initially.
Smoke from the fire was so thick, it showed up on Stormtracker 21 Radar.
Fire departments from Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia have been called to assist.
Norfolk Southern Railroad issued the following statement: "We are aware of the derailment in East Palestine, and are coordinating closely with local first responders while mobilizing our own teams. We will share more details as they become available."
Mayor Conaway said to check the East Palestine Information Facebook page for updates.
The next news conference will be held at 6 a.m.
21 News crews are on scene working to learn more from witnesses and officials and will provide updates as we get them.