East Palestine, Ohio, Toxic Derailment, Three Months On

22 May 2023

3.7 MINS

My third update since the derailment on 3 February 2023, and the subsequent controlled burn of five rail cars containing vinyl chloride. See the previous articles on 1 March and 5 April.

Let’s start with a quote from an East Palestine resident Tracy Hager. This is part of what she said on 5 May 2023:

I ended up with an inhaler, and my husband on medications, we were experiencing stuff so bad, it was triggering every time we would go outside. A lot of people have been gone. Many are at this campground, and they are choosing to stay the whole summer… everybody is scared… When you go into town, it’s divided. You have people who can’t leave. You have people who did leave but mismanaged their finances from Norfolk, so they have had to go back. There are people who are still out, they have found family to stay with… It’s just so weird in town… I can’t go on thinking, I don’t know what’s going on? It’s my family’s health… If I have the ways to stay out, we are going to do it.

What Happened?

A Norfolk Southern freight train carrying more than 100,000 gallons of hazardous chemicals derailed in the small town of East Palestine, OH., on its 1,600-mile journey to a chemical plant in Pedricktown, N.J. I don’t know how big this train was but certainly over a mile long!

Both sides of politics in America have allowed the scaling back of rail safety management for over ten years. The result: about three U.S. train derailments per day. The reason: to boost rail company profits.

One response to this disaster is that the Senate is now proposing to increase the fine for failure in safety from US $100,000 to US $10 million.

Who Authorised the Controlled Burn of Five Cars Containing Lethal Chemicals?

The derailed cars were a potential bomb. But who should have taken responsibility for the disaster response? Crucial question. You would expect that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would step up to the plate, they would take responsibility. But did they? They modelled the controlled burn of ‘one’ car, yes, but:

Friday 3rd February 38 of the train’s cars derail in East Palestine. The derailed equipment includes 11 tank cars carrying hazardous materials that ignited, fuelling fires that damage another dozen cars,

Monday 6th February To help prevent a deadly explosion of vinyl chloride, crews conduct a controlled detonation involving cars containing the toxic substance. The chemical was drained into a trench and burned off. “The detonation went perfect,” a Norfolk Southern official said.

That ‘controlled burn’ was in fact of ‘five’ cars. No modelling for such a burn had been done and has still not been done. So, toxin testing in the vicinity of the disaster is being done (when it is being done), in the dark, with no control samples to compare.

Who authorised the burn? You would expect the EPA, but at this point, no one is claiming that responsibility. Who conducted the burn? The rail company, Norfolk Southern, and apparently, they said it ‘went perfectly’.

What Happened in the Days After the Disaster?

Chaos! The chains of command were tangled and broken. It appears to me that the driving force was the rail company, they wanted to minimise their losses. They simply wanted to get their mess cleared up as quickly as possible. Any school-based chemistry student could tell us:

When vinyl chloride is burnt, highly toxic combustion products such as hydrogen chloride, phosgenic, and carbon monoxide are produced along with dioxins consisting of 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin and many other dioxin-like compounds.

What Do the People of East Palestine Do Now?

Dead fish in the rivers. Livestock and pets dead. Businesses bankrupt. Homes that can’t sell. Breathing problems. Skin disorders. Bleeding noses. The unknown. Psychological trauma.

Comparisons are being made with Chernobyl, the nuclear reactor disaster in the Ukraine 26th April 1986. There:

Over the years, some 350,000 people have been relocated due to the Chernobyl accident according to the World Nuclear Association. The exclusion zone, which is essentially uninhabited, originally extended 30 kilometres encompassing around 2,800 square kilometres, from the site of the decommissioned nuclear power plant. Later it was modified, now covering roughly 4,300 square kilometers.

Yes, this was a radiation disaster, an accident, arguably due to poor operational procedures, not due to flawed technology.

East Palestine is a chemical disaster accident, arguably due to poor operational procedures, not due to flawed technology.

But on top of this. The people here have not been evacuated, other than for two days after the controlled burn. The chemical testing has been inconsistent and scientifically flawed. The medium to long term effects of exposure to dioxins has not been adequately studied. All the residents know is that these chemicals are the most carcinogenic known to man.

What Can We Do?

  1. Remember the 4,718 residents (2021) of East Palestine, Ohio. Try to understand what happened here over three months ago and the ongoing impact of decisions taken. Remember the people of Pennsylvania, to the east of Ohio that were also covered with the chemical fallout of the controlled burn.
  2. Grapple with waring agendas in our world. Between corporate demands, profit margins, and costly risk management. The sacrifice of individual freedoms for the common good. The locus of responsibility, global, national, local, or personal?
  3. Please pray for the people affected by this chemical disaster. For their physical and psychological health. Pray for protection from the ravages of damaging chemicals on their bodies and for healing of those still suffering. Pray for peace and understanding in the community and that the right leadership will rise up to support the people and bring those responsible to account. Pray for the churches and their leaders. Pray that, this will be a disaster that teaches authorities how to mend their ways.


Photo by Wikimedia Commons.

We need your help. The continued existence of the Daily Declaration depends on the generosity of readers like you. Donate now. The Daily Declaration is committed to keeping our site free of advertising so we can stay independent and continue to stand for the truth.

Fake news and censorship make the work of the Canberra Declaration and our Christian news site the Daily Declaration more important than ever. Take a stand for family, faith, freedom, life, and truth. Support us as we shine a light in the darkness. Donate now.


  1. Ian Moncrieff. 22 May 2023 at 11:32 am - Reply

    Thanks Jim for revealing the flaws and the coverups and the PRAYER points.

    • Jim Twelves 23 May 2023 at 9:21 pm - Reply

      Ian, thank you for following. Yes this is one little small community on the other side of the world. I believe that Jesus said to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep (Romans 12:15), whoever and wherever they are. We can pray, but we can also keep these precious souls story alive.

  2. Leonie Robson 24 May 2023 at 8:52 am - Reply

    What a travesty!
    My husband and I watched the reports on Fox News for days, and the follow up interviews with Tucker (sadly silenced)
    The news cycle moves on, and it seems like those in power actually take advantage of this.
    Wrong colour people, demographics and political affiliation.
    Thanks for your updates.
    Lord let relief and justice be done.

    • Jim Twelves 24 May 2023 at 11:44 am - Reply

      Leonie, thank you. It seems to me that one of the present day’s biggest hurdles for the public being able to participate in genuine debate is that the source of raw material, the facts, are very carefully rationed or turned off completely. So much so that we simply stop debating; as we know there is no point, as we don’t have enough facts for a fruitful discussion to go anywhere.

  3. Jim Twelves 24 May 2023 at 11:39 am - Reply

    I offer this additional material from Dr Sam Bailey, from New Zealand in her latest video about the Bhopal, India, in 1984, the Union Carbide disaster that killed at least 8,000 people.
    I am not claiming that East Palestine is anything like the Bhopal tragedy but I note there are many unfortunate parallels between these stories. When will we ever learn!

Leave A Comment

Recent Articles:

Use your voice today to protect

Faith · Family · Freedom · Life



The Daily Declaration is an Australian Christian news site dedicated to providing a voice for Christian values in the public square. Our vision is to see the revitalisation of our Judeo-Christian values for the common good. We are non-profit, independent, crowdfunded, and provide Christian news for a growing audience across Australia, Asia, and the South Pacific. The opinions of our contributors do not necessarily reflect the views of The Daily Declaration. Read More.