Residents Demand Answers In Wake Of Rail Disaster

The New York Times reports:

Hundreds of Ohio residents gathered in a school gym on Wednesday night to demand answers about the ongoing fallout from a derailed train carrying hazardous chemicals, transforming what had been billed as an informational meeting into a heated town hall where officials with the railroad company didn’t even show up.

The mayor pleaded with the crowd at East Palestine High School to remain civil as they called out questions and occasionally booed after answers.

The meeting was the latest effort to quell concerns and ballooning distrust, nearly two weeks after a Norfolk Southern freight train derailed and a controlled burn of chemicals onboard forced residents to evacuate temporarily.

Reuters reports:

East Palestine Mayor Trent Conaway, looking angry and tired, said at Wednesday’s town hall that he wanted to help provide some reassurance for the 4,700 citizens of his town, and hold to account those responsible for the train derailment.

“We need our citizens to feel safe in their own homes,” Conaway said as the meeting began. “I need help. I’m not ready for this. But I’m not leaving, I’m not going anywhere.”

Conaway said Norfolk Southern, which operated the toxins-laden train that derailed on Feb. 3 in East Palestine, was working closely with him. “They screwed up our town, they’re going to fix it,” Conway said.

Norfolk Southern officials backed out of the meeting last yesterday afternoon, saying they feared physical violence from residents.