EAST PALESTINE, Ohio (WKBN) – Cleanup efforts are underway Friday across East Palestine, from the schools to the area surrounding the rail lines to the contaminated soil on the streets.
At the schools, plenty of deep cleaning was taking place.
Multiple restoration crews are going through each of the village’s three schools, wiping the floors and walls and cleaning every surface. It’s to ensure that any residue will be gone before any of the students return.
The schools were used as command centers and a Red Cross shelter during the evacuation situation.
East Palestine’s superintendent said the cleaning was on schedule to be completed by Monday, when classes are expected to resume.
Near the rail lines, crews are working to clear the wreckage.
Close to where the vinyl chloride cars were burning are eight more rail cars that also caught on fire. Those cars have been pulled off the tracks.
On Friday, we got a closer look at them. Inside, you can see cases and cases of beer.
The rail cars had caught on fire as well, and that cargo is being unloaded and taken away. It is destroyed and cannot be used.
A big concern is also the contaminated soil on the streets, the cleanup process for which started on Friday.
A street sweeper cleaned up Taggart Road near where the derailment happened after trucks hauled contaminated soil away from the tracks, spreading it across the street.
The truck made a pass on both sides of the street around 8:45 a.m.
Mayor Trent Conaway stressed that the cleanup is a priority in Thursday’s press conference.
“They are bringing in street sweepers and they are going to start sweeping the streets. I told them it needs to happen immediately,” Conaway said.
In some places, residents say it still smells like chemicals. They want to know when that will be gone.
The mayor says he has not been given a timetable for that but believes the smell is coming from the creek near the tracks.