2nd Norfolk Southern train derails in Ohio, no hazardous materials released: Officials

It comes after a Norfolk Southern train derailed in East Palestine last month.

March 6, 2023, 4:59 PM

No hazardous materials were involved after a Norfolk Southern train derailed Saturday near Springfield, Ohio, officials said, the second such incident in just over a month.

Norfolk Southern General Manager Kraig Barner said Sunday that 28 train cars of 212 overall derailed, including four empty tanker cars.

The railroad company told authorities that this incident did not involve hazardous materials. But officials acknowledged Monday that other cars on the train did have hazardous contents.

A spokesman for Norfolk Southern, who attended a press briefing with local officials, declined to say how close those cars were to the ones that derailed.

"I'm not going to speculate on how close of a call it was," Connor Spielmaker said. "Obviously, safety at Norfolk Southern is a priority."

"There were no hazardous material cars involved in the derailment and that's what's important," he added.

Spielmaker said representatives from NTSB were on site Monday investigating the wreck.

The four empty tankers were previously carrying diesel exhaust fluid and an additive commonly used in wastewater treatment, according to Clark County, Ohio, officials.

At Sunday's press conference, officials, including the Springfield fire chief, Clark County hazmat coordinator and Clark County health commissioner, reiterated that the empty tanker cars, as well as the other cars that derailed, did not release "any chemical or any hazardous material to the soil, to the air or to the water,” Ohio EPA Director Anne Vogel said.

A view shows the moment in which a train derailed, in Springfield, Ohio, March 4, 2023 in this screen grab taken from a social media video.
SHAWN HEATON via Reuters

"We will be on-site ensuring that as cars are removed by Norfolk Southern that the soil is not impacted," Vogel said.

The National Transportation Safety Board said Sunday that it's investigating the new derailment near Springfield, and that investigators are expected to arrive Monday.

On Monday, a Clark County health official insisted that the derailment posed no risk to the public.

The incident comes a little over a month after a Norfolk Southern foreign train derailed in East Palestine, Ohio, releasing vinyl chloride, ethyl acrylate and isobutylene into the environment. Springfield is located about 218 miles southwest of East Palestine.

Norfolk Southern officials had conducted a controlled burn of toxic chemicals from the train a few days after the derailment.

A general view of the site of the derailment of a train carrying hazardous waste in East Palestine, Ohio, Feb. 23, 2023.
Alan Freed/Reuters, FILE

Residents expressed concerns that they were exposed to high levels of the colorless gas vinyl chloride, which easily burns and is associated with an increased risk of several cancers including brain, liver and lung cancers, as well as lymphoma and leukemia, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Environmental Protection Agency officials have insisted that they haven't found any chemical levels that posed a health concern, a claim that angered residents during a town hall in East Palestine on Thursday.

"Don't lie to us!" one person yelled during the meeting, and others booed loudly.

Homeowners have complained of various symptoms, including eye and skin irritation, nausea and headaches. A medical clinic recently opened to address those with health questions and concerns.

ABC News' Matt Foster, Sasha Pezenik, Mary Kekatos and Will McDuffie contributed to this report.

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