EAST PALESTINE, Ohio (WKBN) — After Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw testified Thursday in a Senate hearing in Washington, D.C, East Palestine residents and business owners are expressing continued frustration with the response surrounding the derailment.
Jessie Wince owns Cuttin’ Loose Family Hair on East Taggart Street, close to the derailment.
She says she has some frustrations surrounding the derailment and has some thoughts on the apology Shaw made during the Thursday hearing.
“‘Sorry’ isn’t getting my kids groceries, ‘sorry’ isn’t paying my rent down here, ‘sorry’ isn’t getting customers to come back in here,” Wince said.
Wince expressed frustration, saying she’d like to see more help from both the railroad and federal government for business owners.
“We wouldn’t be in this situation if it wasn’t for a derailed toxic train in front of my business,” she said.
She has young kids in East Palestine Preschool and she’s five months pregnant. Wince worries for her own safety and her kids’ safety, too.
“Do I feel safe? Not necessarily. But this is my income,” she said.
Wince wants to see clearer communication and transparency — something the Ohio EPA said during the Senate hearing was lacking right after the derailment. She would like to see more oversite from federal agencies for Norfolk Southern.
“It’s kind of hard to trust, you know, a corporation that had a derailment and has had other incidents just this last week,” Wince said.
Wince said she hears similar frustrations from the community every day in her chair.
“Usually, haircuts are about 20 minutes — some of them turn into 40 just because it’s like a little vent session,” Wince said.
But despite concerns, she has no intentions of leaving her East Palestine business behind and will stick it out as long as health concerns don’t grow.