NTSB Chair: Controlled Burn Could Have Been Avoided

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National Transportation Safety Board Chair Jennifer Homendy testified Wednesday in a Senate Commerce Committee hearing that the controlled burn that happened after the train derailment in East Palestine could have been avoided.

Homendy said that the temperature inside the tank car in question was actually cooling down, and the other four tank cars were only between 64 and 69 degrees.

“So Oxy Vinyls was on scene providing information to Norfolk Southern’s contractor who was in the room when the decision was made and when advice was given to the governor of Ohio, to the incident commander,” Homendy said.

“They were not given full information because no one was told Oxy Vinyls was on scene. They were left out of the room. The incident commander didn’t even know they existed.

Neither did the governor. So, they were provided incomplete information to make a decision.”

In response to the hearing, East Palestine Mayor Trent Conaway said that the decision to vent and burn was the best option given the information they had at the time.

Conaway also said that he was aware Oxy Vinyls was around when the decision to do the vent and burn was made, and that all information came from Norfolk Southern and their contractors. He added that a vent and burn prevented anyone from getting hurt or killed, which was a top priority.

Senator JD Vance, R-Ohio, asked Homendy a number of questions about the decision-making process on February 6. Vance said he believed the reason for the vent and burn was to get trains moving again quickly.

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Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, also responded to Wednesday’s testimony and said it’s more proof that Norfolk Southern was more worried about profits.

“This is outrageous.  This explosion – which devasted so many – was unnecessary. The people of East Palestine are still living with the consequences of this toxic burn. This is more proof that Norfolk Southern put profits over safety & cannot be trusted,” Brown said.

source: wkbn.com/ntsb-chair-says-controlled-burn-could-have-been-avoided

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