Officials: Controlled release of chemicals successfully completed in East Palestine

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As flames and smoke filled into the sky in East Palestine on late Monday afternoon, Norfolk Southern, fire officials and other departments completed a breach of five rail cars to release chemicals.

“The controlled breach of several rail cars has been completed successfully under the supervision of experts and first responders,” Norfolk Southern said in a release.

The controlled chemical release happened around 4:40 Monday afternoon. A loud boom was followed by large plumes of thick, black smoke which could be seen and heard from miles away.

The purpose of the controlled release of chemicals was to eliminate the risk a possible explosion with the potential to send deadly shrapnel up to a mile away.

The train heading to PA derailed Friday evening while hauling many chemicals, including vinyl chloride.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine announced the plan on Monday afternoon, ordering people in the area to evacuate immediately, saying those close to the chemical release were in “grave danger of death.”

Now that the chemical release is complete, what is the next step?

When DeWine was asked when residents can return to their homes, he wasn’t sure.