Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine (R) sustained a leg injury while visiting the site of a recent train derailment in East Palestine. Locals refer to the crash site as a toxic disaster.
Five cars on the train operated by Norfolk Southern spilled poisonous chemicals on Feb. 3. The danger to area residents was reportedly made worse when Norfolk officials initiated a “controlled” burn of the chemicals that sent massive plumes of smoke throughout the Ohio River Basin.
The Columbus Dispatch reported that DeWine, 76, suffered a “displaced distal fibula fracture just above his ankle” when visiting a church in East Palestine on Feb. 21.
The governor’s trip to East Palestine included attending the opening of a new health clinic developed to meet the needs of residents living near the train derailment site.
“My foot caught on something,” DeWine told the Columbus Dispatch. “I’m fine,” the governor said, then joked that he is “just not walking my dog as much.”
During his visit, DeWine and the Environmental Protection Agency chief Michael Regan attempted to allay fears of contaminated soil and water by making it a point to drink tap water from several area homes.
Video of the bold move went viral.
DeWine told local affiliate Fox19:
“One of the things we did today during two home visits was to drink some of the water … the village water. This village water is safe.”
Residents told “Good Morning America” they did not feel safe two weeks after the crash.
Last Thursday, the lieutenant governor tweeted: “If you feel unsafe, you should drink bottled water.”
Last Thursday, RTM reported that investigators with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) released a preliminary report on the incident.
The preliminary report noted that wheel bearings on the Norfolk Southern train locked and overheated, leading to the derailment.
Reportedly, several detection points noted the bearings reached more than 250 degrees above “ambient temperature.”
According to the preliminary report, surveillance video confirms an axle-bearing issue contributed to the derailment.
NTSB chair Jennifer Homendy declared, “This was 100 percent preventable. …The NTSB has one goal … safety and making sure this never happens again.”
Area residents continue complaining of animal die-offs, nausea, sore throats and trouble breathing.
On Sunday afternoon, DeWine reported: “New water monitoring wells will be installed this week at the site of the derailment.”
DeWine added: “These wells will determine if the groundwater directly below the site is contaminated.”
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