(NewsNation) — Health concerns are mounting for residents of East Palestine, Ohio, as the rural town grapples with the aftermath of a train derailment.
Morgan & Morgan filed a class action lawsuit against Norfolk Southern regarding the derailment in Ohio. Attorney Rena Rocha says the company’s actions show the company does not care about the people there.
“Unfortunately, everything that this company has done is screaming loud and clear that they do not care about these people. They don’t care about the towns that they run through. They don’t care if they derail a car. They just flipped another one today,” Rocha told NewsNation host Leland Vittert during an appearance on “On Balance.”
Ten of the 50 cares that derailed Feb. 3 were carrying hazardous materials. The Environmental Protection Agency identified at least four chemicals that were on board: vinyl chloride, ethylene glycol monobutyl ether, ethylhexyl acrylate and isobutylene.
“When they spill a million pounds of vinyl chloride into a town, they (Norfolk Southern) don’t care about that, either. They just light it on fire and let the residents deal with the fumes. All of my clients and the rest of the people I hear about in these towns are still sick,” Rocha said.
Some East Palestine residents have reported sickness, unusual odors or a burning sensation in their eyes. Some, including Desiree Walker, say they do not feel safe in their own homes after the derailment.
Walker lives just 900 feet from the derailment site and has wreckage near her home. Even with pieces of rail cars in her yard, Walker told Vittert on Wednesday she had not spoken to 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.
She said the air at her home now smells like paint thinner and that at night it is “so bad that you can taste it.”
“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 said.
Norfolk Southern did not show up to a community open house about the derailment Wednesday evening, citing a “growing physical threat” to their employees.
The company said they are “committed to East Palestine and will continue to respond to community concerns.”