Railroad reluctant to say who OK’d chemical burn after Ohio derailment
The railroad at the heart of the hazardous train crash near the Ohio-Pennsylvania border offered vague answers Monday about who agreed to burn the derailed cars carrying vinyl chloride.
Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw told the Senate Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee that a unified command team – led by a local fire chief in East Palestine, Ohio and Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine – OK’d the “controlled release” plan on Feb. 6 to prevent a dangerous explosion that would have spread contaminants and deadly shrapnel across the region.
Majority Chairman Doug Mastriano, R-Chambersburg, questioned the use of “controlled” to describe the railroad’s decision to set the train cars on fire and watch plumes of smoke drift for miles over homes and farmland.
“You’re blaming it on a chief in East Palestine, correct?” he said. “So your cars are on fire, it’s your rail, it’s your incident and you’re going to leave it to a local fire chief who’s likley never had to deal with this before?”