East Palestine declares State of Emergency following train derailment, fire


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The Village of East Palestine is under a State of Emergency after a train derailment caused a massive fire Friday night around 9:30 p.m.

“A train going from Madison, IL to Conway, PA carrying multiple different qualities of products, derailed,” East Palestine Fire Chief Keith Drabick said.

Officials said nearly 50 train cars were involved in the derailment.

The chemicals inside the train cars caused a massive fire that could be seen from miles away and burned through the night.

“Currently there are several cars that are still actively burning,” Drabick added. “We have pulled all of our people out of the area until we can get a better grasp of which cars in the train are burning and what product is burning.”

There have been several explosions, which is also a leading factor in pulling fire personnel away from the scene.

No injuries or fatalities have been reported.

“We have multiple HAZMAT teams on the scene,” said Mayor Trent Conaway. “Norfolk Southern’s here with its HAZMAT team, too, to determine the possible chemicals that were involved.”

Fifty fire departments between Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia responded to help fight the fire.

The village remains under mandatory evacuation and a shelter in place order.

“If you have to come to East Palestine. Don’t,” Drabick said. “Stay out of the area until we can get this mitigated and get this hazard under control, please avoid the area.”

The temperature was below 10 degrees when the fire happened. Although the hydrants were working fine, the trucks pumping the water were freezing up.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is monitoring the air quality at the time. They report there is no danger to the community.

Shelters are currently located at the East Palestine Junior and Senior High Schools located at 320 W. Grant St.