A freight train has derailed in East Palestine near the Ohio-Pennsylvania border in US, resulting in a huge fire and evacuation directives.
Nearly 50 cars of the train transporting various types of cargo from Madison, Illinois, to Conway, Pennsylvania derailed in the incident, creating a dense cloud of smoke.
“We have established a Family Assistance Center to address the needs of the community and support those directly impacted. Additionally, we are supporting the efforts of the American Red Cross and their temporary community shelters through a $25,000 donation,” operator Norfolk Southern said in a statement.
The operator said that it is coordinating with federal, state and local agencies, as well as working alongside first responders.
So far, there have been no reports of injuries, fatalities, or damage to structures.
According to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), 20 of the more than 100-car train contained hazardous material.
NTSB member Michael Graham said that 14 cars containing vinyl chloride were involved in the derailment and exposed to fire, with at least one “intermittently releasing the contents of the car through a pressure release device as designed.”
Vinyl chloride, known to be a human carcinogen, helps produce polyvinyl chloride that is used to make plastic products.
The cause of the derailment is still unknown, with a federal probe already having been launched into the matter.
People residing within a mile of the incident have been asked to evacuate, with a state of emergency declared in the town.
Currently, the Environmental Protection Agency is monitoring the air quality, Mayor Trent Conaway said.
Firefighters continue to fight the blaze, and warned locals that more explosions could occur.
Two evacuation stations have been set up to offer shelter to affected residents.