EAST PALESTINE, Ohio (WJW) — Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine was once again in East Palestine following a fiery train derailment that took place Friday evening.
The governor held a press conference Wednesday afternoon along with other officials regarding the status of the cleanup and whether hundreds of residents were able to return to their homes after a regulated chemical release pushed them out.
“It is now safe to be in the evacuation area,” Fire Chief Keith Drabick announced, saying people could come back.
However, before returning to homes, residents are asked to refer to the safe return traffic plan on the Columbiana County website.
The EPA tested for chemicals in the area of the crash overnight and results were announced Wednesday.
A statement to the media explained: “Air quality samples in the area of the wreckage and in nearby residential neighborhoods have consistently showed readings at points below safety screening levels for contaminants of concern.”
DeWine explained the air levels, in layman’s terms, are reportedly back to safe levels. But officials will continue to monitor air and water levels.
Officials had previously spoken to the media Tuesday evening saying there was no timeline on when people who were evacuated could come back home.
Another fire reportedly broke out on site early Wednesday morning but that is now out, officials said.
Residents can reach out to Norfolk Southern’s Family Assistance Center for questions about free water testing or air sampling on their properties by calling 800-230-7049. Those who are unsure about returning to their homes can also inquire about hotel assistance.