Governor Activates Ohio National Guard After East Palestine Train Derailment and Fire

Residents of East Palestine, Ohio, were shocked last Friday evening when a train derailed and caused a large fire. Governor Mike DeWine has since activated the Ohio National Guard to deploy to the scene to assist local authorities, including the Ohio State Highway Patrol, Ohio Emergency Management Agency and Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.[0]

The train derailment was caused by a mechanical failure, and officials reported a drastic temperature change in one of the rail cars, leading to the potential of a catastrophic tanker failure which could cause an explosion with the potential of deadly shrapnel traveling up to a mile.[0]

The governor also issued an evacuation order for a 1-mile-by-2-mile area surrounding East Palestine, citing a threat of a “grave danger of death” and “severe injury…including skin burns and serious lung damage.”[1] Those with children who decline to evacuate may be subject to arrest.[2]

At least five of the derailed cars were said to be carrying vinyl chloride, a highly flammable chemical linked to an increased risk of cancer.[3] The rail company estimates the controlled release of chemicals could burn for one to three hours, but it's not clear when residents will be able to return to their homes.[3]

The EPA said the air quality and drinking water remain safe, but those still in the immediate area of the derailment could face serious consequences.[4] Those with the means to leave are advised to immediately evacuate, and those who need assistance should call the Columbiana County Sheriff’s Office at 330-426-4341. The East Palestine City School District will also be closed for the rest of the week, citing a local state of emergency.[5]

0. “Gov. DeWine issues urgent evacuation notice for East Palestine following train derailment”, 6 Feb. 2023,

1. “DeWine activates National Guard to assist in East Palestine disaster” WFMJ, 6 Feb. 2023,

2. “Ohio governor warns of explosion risk, orders evacuations near train derailment site” The Hill, 6 Feb. 2023,

3. “Controlled chemical release scheduled to prevent explosion in wake of Ohio train derailment” NBC News, 6 Feb. 2023,

4. “Firefighters step back as highly flammable chemical continues to burn in 50-train car derailment” News 5 Cleveland WEWS, 5 Feb. 2023,

5. “Ohio governor warns of ‘grave danger of death' near burning, derailed train. So crews will try a ‘controlled release' of hazardous chemical” CNN, 6 Feb. 2023,