Whos to Blame?

On February 3rd a train carrying hazardous materials derailed and crashed in Palestine, Ohio. Immediately authorities rushed to make sure things were taken care of. Because some of the materials were flammable and there was a risk of explosion the authorities enacted a controlled burn of the materials which then went into the atmosphere. The authorities evacuated the citizens before any of this happened, however. The situation gets more controversial when the citizens come back. As always The Blue and White are here to report and give you the complete scoop.


Courtesy of Politico

The residents are feeling large amounts of distrust towards the government and Norfolk Southern (the train company). Because of this, they want their wells and tap water tested for contamination. Sensing this distrust, Donald Trump showed up and had a small campaign event there. He said that the government was at fault and that they shouldn’t trust them because he claimed they reacted late and without care. The citizens seemed agreed with him and polls show that even before this, this town mostly supported Trump. The government’s officials arrived a few hours after the incident and have been there ever since. They have been conducting air quality and water quality tests and even brought a mobile analytical lab.


This case gained a lot of attention because it was posted on pretty much every large news site. For example most

Courtesy of Politico

people learned of it through either news sites or Tik Tok. This caused a stir in society because the idea of a giant black cloud of chemicals would frighten anyone. Because of its political turn, many of those news sites followed up with updated articles or videos. The most common thing that appeared on social media was the thin film on the waterways and the fact that many of the local water life died. In fact, an estimated total of 43,000 animals died with the majority being water life.


The people of East Palestine then reported that their pets and livestock were either sick or dying, although authorities claim that the level of toxins in the air is safe to breathe. In fact, tests were done on some of the dead animals and pets and none were related to the burnt or spilt chemicals. But more worrying was the fact that the residents themselves are feeling the common symptoms of these chemicals which include rashes, headaches, vomiting, nausea, etc. This led to most of the residents staying inside.


The Blue and White interviewed Junior Thony Ramos to better understand what students at Apopka feel about the crash. Many blame the government and the train company for not checking the train beforehand, “They could focus less on foreign issues like

Courtesy of WBOY.com

Ukraine and focus more on public safety in the U.S. There have been many train derailments across the country so we should consider improving our trains.” There is certainly an issue to address here. Thony, like many of the residents, expected more from the government: “The federal government hasn’t done enough to help. The chemicals are still affecting Ohio’s water system and still remain in their creeks seeping through the ground.” This is certainly a problem clearly shown by the death of the aquatic life and the government could try and reverse this somehow. Many people have strong opinions about the decisions to burn the chemicals. Thony explains, “I think overall it was wise to burn the chemicals rather than risk the explosion. This way it’s safer and more controlled than an explosion.” According to officials the explosion would have caused much more damage because everything would have gone everywhere.


The Blue and White interviewed Andrea Aguilar a Sophomore at Apopka High School. Chemicals are known to cause lots of damage in interesting ways, “I think because of the chemicals; they will have less local produce. I think they should work on cleaning the water as fast as possible, because if not it will affect the

Courtesy of The New York Times

animals and people.” This is an interesting idea because most people don’t think of the produce when thinking about this tragedy. The government did evacuate the people, but some people aren’t sure about the reintroduction and how soon it was, “I don’t agree with the government on reintroducing the people. I think it is a very dangerous area right now and that they should temporarily move away from it while they get it completely cleaned.” Maybe the government should have cleaned the water and wells before reintroducing the residents. Another thing was the pets and animals of the residents and how they were getting sick, “I feel worried about the animals, especially those in the lakes and ponds because they’ve all been dying. I heard about the fox guy and that his foxes are sick, and this obviously shows it’s not safe.” Many of the interesting residents of East Palestine are somehow in a predicament because of this sad event.


This situation was special because of how unusual it was. A train derailed that contained hazardous materials in Ohio. Residents were evacuated, and the chemicals were burnt for fear of explosion. Air and water were checked to make sure they were safe and when safe the residents were reintroduced to their homes. Trump showed up and had a rally criticizing the organization of the event and blamed the government for neglect. As of this publication, the state of Ohio has filed a lawsuit against Norfolk Southern to make sure they pay for the damage caused by the train derailment. The Blue and White hopes nothing like this happens in Apopka.