East Palestine woman near derailment: ‘We don’t feel safe’

EAST PALESTINE, Ohio (NewsNation) — Many residents of East Palestine are feeling forgotten. The rural town is still grappling with a train derailment that some say could impact them for decades.

Ten of the 50 train cars that derailed Feb. 3 were carrying hazardous materials, and now some members of the community have reported sickness, unusual odors or a burning sensation in their eyes.

Desiree Walker lives just 900 feet from the derailment site and has wreckage in her backyard. She told “On Balance” host Leland Vittert she doesn’t feel safe in her own home after the derailment.

Vittert asked if she believes officials care about what she is experiencing.

Walker replied: “I don’t think so, I really don’t think so. I have two babies here, and I worry about their health. With us being exposed to the toxins and the chemicals, I don’t think we’re safe.”

Walker’s conversation with Vittert came as residents of East Palestine were beginning to share their concerns at a community open house on the derailment. Norfolk Southern chose not to attend the meeting due to a “growing physical threat” to their employees.

“We are not going anywhere. We are committed to East Palestine and will continue to respond to community concerns through our Family Assistance Center and our hotline for citizens to ask questions regarding return to home and health questions,” the company shared in a statement to NewsNation.

Meanwhile, Walker says even with pieces of rail cars in her yard, she has not spoken with anyone from Norfolk Southern.

“We haven’t talked to anybody. We haven’t talked to city officials. We haven’t talked to the railroad. We haven’t talked to EPA. Nobody has stopped here to talk to us,” Walker said.

Walker told Vittert the air smells “kind of like paint thinner” and that at night it is “so bad that you can taste it.”

“We’ve had headaches. We get sore throats. My son’s eyes were matted shut this morning,” Walker said.

She says she does not have hope the situation will get better anytime soon.

On Balance with Leland Vittert

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