Smoke from the fire after the East Palestine Derailment. By thunderlips36, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=128970663
02 Apr 2023

Train company Norfolk Southern pays back fire stations for their damaged equipment after Ohio HazMat accident


I’ve been a fireman for 32 years and I’ve never seen anything like it, and it’s something I hope I never see again

UPDATED April 3:

Governor Josh Shapiro announced on Thursday that Norfolk Southern has completed its first $1 million in reimbursements to Pennsylvania fire departments, first responders and Beaver County Hazmat.

According to an article in the Newcastle News, at  least one local fire department received reimbursement from the train company Norfolk Southern for damages and losses suffered in the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio earlier this year.

The Borough of Bessemer said they  received $174,699 from Norfolk Southern after having put in a request for the funds last Friday, according to a statement by  Bessemer fire Chief Jeff Breetz.

The department was one of the fire stations which lost a lot of equipment: hose line , turnout gear, nozzles and other items was contaminated and needed to be discarded after the response.

Breetz said they were compensated on the same night they put their request in.

“They compensated us for everything we turned in,” he said. “They treated us well. We didn’t ask for anything we didn’t lose.”

Bessemer fire department sent nine fire trucks , four trucks and a lot of equipment to the derailment.

Breetz commented:

“I’ve been a fireman for 32 years and I’ve never seen anything like it, and it’s something I hope I never see again.”



Originally posted on March 31:

The handling of the Ohio train derailment, which caused a toxic release of vinyl chloride and other chemicals in the small town of East Palestine, is under investigation by the US Environmental Protection Agency. A public lawsuit has been filed by the US Department of Justice.

According to several media sources, including a recent article in the Guardian, the internal watchdog division of US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)  is opening an investigation into the handling of the East Palestine train wreck which caused a toxic disaster in the small Ohio town.

The EPA’s inspector general has issued reports critical of the agency over what it has found to be a mishandling of controversies in recent years.

The EPA has declined to comment on the reason for launching the investigation, but a public memo from the EPA office of inspector general states that it will analyze hazardous waste disposal, air and water monitoring, soil and sediment sampling, and risk communication.

The agency’s response to the train crash has drawn criticism from the town’s residents and public health advocates, who say that it has failed to fully protect East Palestine from toxic chemicals released from train cars and a controlled burn of vinyl chloride in the days after the wreck.

Critics say that the controlled burn of vinyl chloride  likely created dangerous compounds such as dioxins and chlorinated PAHs that could pose a long-term health threat in the area. Critics also claim that the contractor hired by Norfolk Southern to test indoor air quality, allegedly has links to the industry and residents do not trust the results because the testing was not conducted by an independent entity.


Public lawsuit against the train company

According to CNN, on Thursday March 30, the US Justice Department has  filed a civil lawsuit against  Norfolk Southern Railway Company  , alleging violations of the Clean Water Act (CWA) and seeking damages over the train derailment and the  environmental disaster which followed in East Palestine, Ohio, earlier in February this year.

On Thursday, the US Justice Department filed a civil lawsuit against Norfolk Southern, accusing the company of violating the Clean Water Act (CWA) during a train derailment and subsequent environmental disaster that occurred in East Palestine, Ohio in February.

Both Norfolk Southern Railway Company and its parent company Norfolk Southern Corporation have been named in the suit, which was filed on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency. The DOJ is seeking "injunctive relief, cost recovery, and civil penalties" for violations of the CWA and the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act.

Norfolk Southern has stated that its priority is to clean up the site, assist affected residents, and invest in the future of East Palestine and surrounding areas. The company has also created a web page summarizing its community impact efforts.

The train derailment caused a fire that lasted several days, released poisonous fumes, killed thousands of fish, and raised concerns about a possible explosion of vinyl chloride. After a mandatory evacuation order, crews burned off the chemical in a trench, which sparked new health concerns. The DOJ alleges that Norfolk Southern's cost-cutting measures over the past four years, including reducing spending on train inspections and maintenance, contributed to the incident.


Photo Credit: Smoke from the fire after the East Palestine Derailment. Wikipedia Commons License. By thunderlips36, CC BY-SA 4.0,