Norfolk Southern declares 'controlled release' of toxic chemicals in East Palestine success
Norfolk Southern has declared the controlled release of toxic chemicals into the air in East Palestine a success.
According to an email from Norfolk Southern, some of the material is now burning off, which is consistent with the expectations from earlier models and is expected to drain for a short number of hours.
Earlier Monday afternoon, Ohio Governor, Mike DeWine took the stage at a press conference to order an immediate evacuation of a one to two mile area surrounding East Palestine located in both Ohio and Pennsylvania.
DeWine told residents these chemicals, known as vinyl chloride are very deadly if inhaled and if you are in the "red area" on the map, you could be "in grave danger of death."
Those in the orange area could suffer from severe injury including skin burns or serious lung damage.
"You need to leave. You just need to leave. We are ordering you to leave. This is a matter of life and death," DeWine said.
Evacuated areas included Parker, South Pleasant, North Pleasant, the BFI access road, Taggart Street, Failer Road and East Martin east of Pleasant.
Pennsylvania is also deploying units to evacuate areas in the one to two mile area.
Scott Deustch of Norfolk Southern explained that Norfolk created a two-and-a-half to three-inch hole inside the tank car to allow the material to come out of a tank car, go into a trench with flares, which will light off the material.
Deustch says should the tank react on its own again, it can't be controlled what time this happens, so doing this in the daylight close to sunset is the safest
Had this release not been done, Deustch says should an inversion occur, the products of combustion that would normally go up in the atmosphere will be held down starting to make a layer to hold it in longer. These products will continue to go up in the atmosphere if done during the day.
Governor DeWine says it is unknown when residents in the evacuation zone will be able to return back to their homes.
In the meantime, Norfolk will continue monitoring air quality with the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and will continue remediation work at the scene.