EAST PALESTINE, Ohio (WKBN) — Plumes of thick, black smoke and flames could be seen billowing into the sky from the site of the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio on Monday.
Viewers and Nexstar’s WKBN were able to capture video of the initial explosion of flames, followed by smoke rising up from the area. Those videos can be seen above.
It was all part of a controlled release of chemicals to mitigate any risk of an explosion from the site.
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced the plan on Monday morning, telling those in the area to evacuate immediately. There was a risk of an explosion as well as risks from the fumes that may be released into the air.
Scott Deutsch of Norfolk Southern Railway said doing this during the daytime would allow the fumes to disperse more quickly and prevent the rail cars from exploding and sending shrapnel and other debris from flying through the neighborhood.
The process involved using a small charge to blow a hole in the cars, allowing the material to go into a trench and burning it off before it was released in the air, he said. The crews handling the controlled release have done this safely before, Deutsch said.
Norfolk Southern said that release was successful Monday afternoon. The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency is monitoring air quality, and remediation work will continue at the site.
Cars involved contained vinyl chloride, combustible liquids, butyl acrylate, benzene residue, and nonhazardous materials such as wheat, plastic pellets, malt liquors and lube oil, Norfolk Southern said in a statement Sunday.
The cars were among a total of 50 cars that derailed in a fiery crash Friday night, according to rail operator Norfolk Southern and the National Transportation Safety Board. No injuries to crew, residents or first responders were reported.
Federal investigators say the cause of the derailment was a mechanical issue with a rail car axle.
Chandler Hodges and The Associated Press contributed to this report.