EAST PALESTINE, Ohio (WKBN) — It’s been one month since the train derailed in East Palestine.
There have been ups and down along the way since.
WKBN 27 First News is taking a look through the situation from the beginning to where we are and what could be next.
Thirty-eight train cars derailed just before 9 p.m. on Feb. 3. The fire looked terrible to the first firefighters on the scene. There were dangerous materials on many of those cars. The fire department found a way to tackle the situation.
“But we had a very large operation from the onset and we managed to get through that without any injuries or fatalities. And that’s, that’s a reassuring part,” said East Palestine Fire Chief Keith Drabick.
Three days later, a controlled release was ordered to handle the dangerous chemical leaking from five tankers. That blew smoke into the air, and people are still wondering what was in that smoke.
Organizations like the Salvation Army are still handing out supplies to help people, and they can read how the people are feeling.
“Relief, pure relief. A lot have been coming through today, and they are needing cleaning supplies. And they just said it’s a continual battle. So, we’re happy that we can be here for them,” said Jodi Keller, a spokesperson for the Salvation Army.
Air tests, water tests, others want soil tests. It’s been a month of trying to find out the damage that was done starting with the derailment. The cleanup continues at the site, and the tracks are being pulled up to dig out every drop of toxic chemicals.
“We are up staffing to ensure not only the public safety, but the safety of the workers down there working,” Drabick said.
Numerous politicians and even the EPA administrator have come to town, to check on the progress. There have been numerous questions about environmental and health conditions. Those will continue.
The town hopes each day is a step closer to going back to the way things were before the accident.
“It’d be great. If we could get back to some sense of normalcy. It’s gonna take quite a while for that to happen. But we’re trying we’re doing the best we can to get there and trying to do as safe as we can for the public,” Drabick said.
Drabick says the department is ready to start returning some loaner equipment back to other fire departments which have helped them through the situation.
The mayor has also started slowly returning to his normal, full-time job.