SOUTH BEAVER TWP., Pa. (WKBN) — Residents of Beaver County, Pennsylvania, expressed concerns about the long-term impacts of the Feb. 3 train derailment in a meeting on Friday at the Community College of Beaver County.
First News has heard reports of people getting sick miles away from East Palestine, Ohio. People living in the area and south of the derailment shared what they have seen and have been experiencing.
John Styperk lives in South Beaver Township, about five miles from the derailment site “as the crow flies.”
He shared photos from the day of the controlled release as the plume of smoke spread out near his property.
“There was a blue plume coming across the sky, it was just above tree level. I looked at my wife and said, ‘Technically, we don’t have to evacuate.’ I said, ‘What do you want to do?'” Styperk says. “She said, ‘I think we should evacuate,’ and we agreed.”
Experts have recommended keeping track of your health in a journal and getting a baseline physical to track changes.
“There was evidence that the plume did move around a bit,” says Stephen Petty, class action health and safety consultant. “The primary direction moved seems to be east, southeast into Pennsylvania.”
Gary Bookman lives in Negley, Ohio. He was evacuated from his workplace just over the state line. He says he has been experiencing a cough and other breathing problems.
“I work in Darlington, and yes — my breathing has been worse for the last week,” Bookman says.
Bookman and Styperk both say they worry about the water near their homes and their property values. Both have well water. Bookman has 80 acres and raises livestock.
“I have two running streams on my place. I know they’re not currently contaminated nonetheless,” Bookman says.
Bookman and Styperk both say the meeting Friday evening was a quest for answers. They have not had their wells tested but plan to do as soon as they are able.