Governor Mike DeWine (R-OH) has ordered residents of East Palestine, Ohio, to evacuate after temperature changes at the site of a train derailment raised the potential for a “major explosion” that could send shrapnel flying a mile from the site.
“East Palestine: Residents living within a mile of the train derailment site who have not yet left their homes are asked to immediately evacuate due to the potential of a major explosion,” DeWine tweeted on Sunday evening.
East Palestine: Residents living within a mile of the train derailment site who have not yet left their homes are asked to immediately evacuate due to the potential of a major explosion. pic.twitter.com/F2BWmBipPx
— Governor Mike DeWine (@GovMikeDeWine) February 6, 2023
DeWine included a screenshot of a press release from his office in the tweet, saying that the evacuation order applied to anyone who was living within a mile of the train derailment site. “Within the last two hours, a drastic temperature change has taken place in a rail car, and there is now the potential of a catastrophic tanker failure which could cause an explosion with the potential of deadly shrapnel traveling up to a mile,” it read.
“Although teams are working to prevent an explosion from happening, residents living within a mile of the site are advised to immediately leave the area,” the press release continued. “While most individuals in the one-mile radius have already evacuated, local officials say that more than 500 people have declined to leave their homes.”
DeWine also announced that he had activated the Ohio National Guard to assist local authorities, adding that the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Ohio Emergency Management Agency, and Ohio EPA were already on the scene.
The train derailed on Friday evening just south of Youngstown, Ohio, according to the initial reporting — and some 20 of more than 100 cars were reported to be carrying hazardous materials.
Fires have been burning at the site of the derailment since Friday, but officials have been closely monitoring the fires and watching for any possible changes in air and local water quality. A shelter-in-place order was initially given for the town of East Palestine, but Governor DeWine has urged those inside a one-mile radius of the site to evacuate.