In early February, Stella Gamble watched from her front porch as toxic smoke billowed into the skies of East Palestine, Ohio.
She soon learned that a Norfolk Southern train had derailed, spilling hazardous materials into the air, water and sky. A few days after the incident, Gamble’s family followed an evacuation order. But when they got home, the symptoms associated with the toxic chemicals in that train derailment drove them away again.
Nearly three months later, Gamble believes most of his family, including his four foster children, have spent more nights in hotels and on the move than in the community they call home.
Nearly three months after derailment, residents of East Palestine still live in remote areas
“I can’t go on with this forever, but for the first time I don’t feel hopeful and I don’t feel safe in my own home,” Gamble said. , your first instinct is to trust what they’re telling you…but it didn’t take long to realize that things weren’t okay.
Gamble told Fox News that when she started considering moving, she didn’t know what would happen next for her family.
“If you want a little peace of mind, you probably will move. I can tell you, can’t you finish the school you went to? “Even if I had help… I don’t want Norfolk Southern money. I want a backyard so my grandchildren can play without getting sick.”
In eastern Palestine, ‘for sale’ signs were put up in front of several houses after the February 3 train crash. But sellers face an uphill battle with declining property values and low buyer interest.
During a Senate hearing in March, Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw was confronted with questions about the train derailment and was repeatedly asked whether the railroad company would compensate homeowners for their losses. .
“I am dedicated to doing the right thing for the community,” Shaw repeatedly replied.
Ohio Attorney General Announces Lawsuit Against Norfolk Southern Over East Palestinian Derailment
In a previously issued statement, Norfolk Southern acknowledged homeowners’ concerns but failed to commit to specific action.
“We also know that residents are concerned about the value of their homes. We are,” the statement said. “We are committed to working with communities to provide home sellers with tailored protection should property lose value as a result of the derailment.”
The EPA claims the community is safe because continuous air monitoring and soil testing have not yet detected “concern” levels of contaminants. However, officials told Fox News they are aware that some people may be skeptical of the results.
“We understand where residents don’t trust us. We hope to earn that trust over time as we continue to make progress here. Until this work is completed, we We’re not going to walk away,” said EPA’s field response coordinator, Mark Dano.
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Nonetheless, some residents remain fearful of continued chemical exposure.
“People are testing positive for vinyl chloride and benzene, my son is testing positive, my daughter is testing positive,” Gamble told Fox. If your child has a 1 chance of getting sick, why take that chance?”