Feb. 3, 2023 lives in the hearts and minds of the people of East Palestine. A Norfolk Southern train carrying toxic chemicals derailed near the Ohio-Pennsylvania border, causing a massive fire.
Days after the derailment, officials decided to vent and burn vinyl chloride from the wreck to avoid a potentially catastrophic explosion. The National Guard blocked roads to the area and Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine urged residents to leave.
The mandatory evacuation was lifted after only three days. The governor's office said air quality samples showed safe readings, and Norfolk Southern started running trains again.
But residents were scared to breathe the air and drink the water. Families demanded independent testing on wells and relied on bottled water. Businesses struggled to stay afloat.
Scripps News visits East Palestine a year after the derailment to see what life is like now, and to share the lesson the community can teach all of America.
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