(NewsNation) — Overall, East Palestine, Ohio, residents were thankful to see the CEO of Norfolk Southern on the hot seat Thursday. Some thought he seemed genuine, while others still don’t know what to believe and hope the company continues to be held accountable.
Nearly five weeks after the East Palestine toxic train derailment, Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw apologized to the village on the Ohio-Pennsylvania border during his testimony before Congress as senators investigated railway safety and the Biden administration’s response to the disaster.
“We’re going to be there today, tomorrow, a year from now, five years from now, 10 years from there,” Shaw said. “I’ve told the community that. I’ve looked in their eyes. I’ve been in their living rooms. I’m committed to that community.”
NewsNation played the remarks for residents who didn’t get a chance to watch live, and many didn’t believe that Shaw or his railway would be in East Palestine for the long haul.
“Well, he hasn’t been in my living room, and we don’t know the long-term effects,” was one resident’s reaction.
East Palestine resident John Lanham also cast doubt on Shaw’s comments.
When asked if he thought Norfolk Southern will be here 10 years down the road, Lanham said, “No. I don’t believe that. I believe the governor will probably show up for him.”
East Palestine resident and mother Zsuzsa Gyenes told NewsNation she is afraid of what the long-term health risks could be.
“I have about a dozen different reactions. They fall in line with allergic reactions to an irritant according to poison control. It’s pretty scary, I get disoriented, Dizzy, my my limbs go numb, I feel nauseous, heaviness on my chest. My teeth feel like they’re gonna fall out. It’s it’s pretty overwhelming. It’s frightening,” said Gyenes.
Some in East Palestine are just thankful to see the CEO on the hot seat and hopeful he stays true to his word.
“What little I saw, they were really grilling Mr. Shaw,” said East Palestine resident Rae Lackner.
Most people here say now everything is a waiting game.
“He’s being pretty genuine, I guess, right now,” said area resident Jeff Cienik. “There’s a lot of people who still going to have some issues. But I hope that means he’s going to stay that long and help the people that are more local and around the zone.”