Officials were quick to issue statements within hours of another Norfolk Southern train derailment in Ohio Saturday that left locals questioning their safety with hazmat teams on scene.
Multiple eyewitnesses captured the moment a 212-car train traveling near Springfield, Ohio near State Route 41 derailed around 5 p.m. Saturday. More than 200 miles southwest of the “Ohio Chernobyl” that took place one month ago in East Palestine, Ohio, the latest accident involved 20 cars going off the tracks leaving at least 1,500 residents without power as those nearest the crash were told to shelter-in-place out of an “abundance of caution.”
New dashcam video shows the start of today's train derailment in Springfield, Ohio pic.twitter.com/JQfdHuj5N4
— BNO News Live (@BNODesk) March 5, 2023
Unlike the previous incident in Ohio where ten days had passed before Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg acknowledged something had happened, the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana made certain to tweet out that he had been in contact with Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) and the people of the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA).
“I have been briefed by FRA leadership and spoke with Gov. DeWine to offer our support after the derailment today in Clark County, Ohio,” he wrote. “No hazardous material release has been reported, but we will continue to monitor closely and FRA personnel are en route.”
I have been briefed by FRA leadership and spoke with Gov. DeWine to offer our support after the derailment today in Clark County, Ohio. No hazardous material release has been reported, but we will continue to monitor closely and FRA personnel are en route.
— Secretary Pete Buttigieg (@SecretaryPete) March 5, 2023
DeWine offered similar assurances as he posted on social media, “Late this afternoon an @nscorp train derailed in Clark County. We don’t believe hazardous materials were involved. @OhioEPA, @Ohio_EMA, & @OSHP are on scene supporting first responders. President Biden and Secretary Buttigieg called me to offer help from the federal government.”
Late this afternoon an @nscorp train derailed in Clark County. We don’t believe hazardous materials were involved. @OhioEPA, @Ohio_EMA, & @OSHP are on scene supporting first responders. President Biden and Secretary Buttigieg called me to offer help from the federal government.
— Governor Mike DeWine (@GovMikeDeWine) March 5, 2023
According to Springfield Township Fire Chief Dave Mangle who spoke at a news conference Saturday, two of the tankers contained residual diesel exhaust fluid, two held polyacrylamide water solution and four were unspecified non-hazardous materials. Furthermore, the derailment was not near a protected water source leading him to conclude “there is no risk of public water or private wells this time.”
A spokesperson for Norfolk Southern also asserted, “No hazardous materials are involved … Our teams are en route to the site to begin cleanup operations.”
CNN reported that representatives for multiple parties including Clark County’s hazmat team, the Environmental Protection Agency and Norfolk Southern were dispatched to the scene to check containers for leaks and reported no evidence of spillage.
As far as coverage is concerned, the public reaction was dramatically different than the reluctant reporting of the Feb. 3 derailment in East Palestine that resulted in a “controlled burn” of vinyl chloride creating an environmental disaster of unknown proportions.
Norfolk Southern has since begun a campaign of “making it right” in an effort to recoup from the damage to their reputation and has highlighted efforts to cleanup the crash site where they said, “To date, we’ve removed 1,734 tons of waste soil and flushed more than 5,200 feet of impacted waterways around East Palestine.”
To date, we've removed 1,734 tons of waste soil and flushed more than 5,200 feet of impacted waterways around East Palestine. We will continue to share our latest progress reports here: https://t.co/I60ROdJuAZ pic.twitter.com/Ybh0WHGrp9
— Norfolk Southern (@nscorp) March 3, 2023
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