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Ohio officials begin releasing toxic material from derailed train to avert an explosion

The first move Monday by Ohio officials to avert a disaster from the smolder, derailed train was to activate the National Guard.

Published: February 6, 2023 8:01am

Updated: February 6, 2023 6:43pm

Ohio officials on Monday began releasing some of the toxic material onboard a wrecked train in an attempt to avert an explosion in the eastern Ohio city in which the accident occurred on Friday night.

The officials announced plans earlier in the day to release toxic chemicals from five cars of a derailed train. The 100-car train reportedly has 20 cars with toxic chemicals, include 10 that were derailed. 

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine says a "controlled release" of vinyl chloride would take place at 3:30 p.m. local time, according to the Associated Press. The release began on schedule.

Residents near the site have already been ordered to evacuate, and the Ohio National Guard has been called in to secure a one-mile perimeter around the accident scene, in East Palestine, Ohio.

"We are ordering you to leave. This is a matter of life and death," DeWine said at a press conference. 

Local officials say over 500 people have declined to leave their homes.

The 50-car derailment was caused by a mechanical issue with an axle, the wire service also reports.

There have been no reports of injuries thus far. 

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