EAST PALESTINE, Ohio (WKBN) — The Ohio Department of Health is joining forces with the Columbiana County Health Department to bring a health assessment clinic to East Palestine residents starting this week.
As the freight trains still run through East Palestine, there are still people in town who aren’t feeling well two-and-a-half weeks after this month’s massive train derailment and fire.
“Just coming out of my house to get in the car, it just smelled like hot metal and… nauseous. My appetite’s gone,” said resident Diane McCracken.
The clinic will provide registered nurses, mental health specialists and a toxicologist to those with questions and concerns regarding the health impacts of the train derailment.
The clinic, with support from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, will open at 12 p.m. Tuesday at the First Church of Christ on West Martin Street. There will also be a mobile unit in the church parking lot to accommodate more appointments.
“They simply called and asked us if we had room, and we do. We have room in the downstairs educational building. So they’re gonna use two rooms down there and a mobile unit outside,” said First Church of Christ Sr. Minister Robert Helbeck.
When he unveiled plans for the clinic on Friday, Governor Mike DeWine said there were still a lot of people with concerns and unanswered questions about their possible exposure to toxic chemicals and compounds. Residents can have their symptoms examined by medical experts and toxicologists, get questions answered and hopefully be reassured.
“My anxiety is so over the top anymore… and my stress,” McCracken said.
Besides hosting the clinic, leaders with the church said that they’ve been so overwhelmed with calls from outsiders that they’ve had to add staff just to answer the phone.
“I had a guy from Long Island call me the other day. Wanted to bring water in his pickup truck. People offering in different states, if someone needs a place to go live, they’re offering places to live,” Helbeck said.
Church assessment rooms
- 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays
- 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays
- 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fridays
- 12 – 6 p.m. Tuesday
- 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. Thursday
- 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. Friday
You can reach the clinic at 234-564-7755 or 234-564-7888.
Church workers expect the clinic could stay for several months.