Officials to offer optional home screening for East Palestine residents; no timeframe to return home

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As the days pass by, the question remains the same: when can East Palestine residents return to their homes?

After Tuesday afternoon’s press conference was cut short because they didn’t have many answers to questions, officials in the East Palestine train derailment held another press briefing to try to provide some clarification.

Not much new information was released, but they are reassuring residents that they’re doing their best to get the nearly 2,000 evacuated back into their homes.

A question was asked as to whether homes would need to be decontaminated upon return. James Justice with the EPA said part of the return home safe plan is to provide optional screening to residents. He was unsure if homes would need to be decontaminated.

Major Jeff Jones with the Ohio National Guard said they are not finding high levels of chemicals which is a good sign.

Mayor Trent Conaway believes the community will pull through this.

“We have a very strong community. They come together as a team. Everyone is just on edge,” Conaway said. “This is new to all of us. We don’t have media training. We’re a small little town.”

He said that Norfolk Southern will be held accountable for the train derailment.

“It was an accident,” Conaway said with emphasis. “Norfolk Southern is going to be responsible for it and we’re going to make sure that happens.”