Ohio resident relocates to Michigan following train derailment

Published: Feb. 21, 2023 at 5:40 PM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

LANSING, Mich. (WILX) - Many residents from East Palestine, Ohio are left wondering if their water is safe to drink following the train derailment that happened more than two weeks ago. Other residents are relocating to get away from health risks.

Barbara Georgescu is one of those people. Georgescu was at home on Feb. 3 when a Norfolk Southern train derailed causing the release of toxic chemicals.

“I ignored the sounds I heard and then when I heard emergency vehicles, I thought there was a house fire,” Georgescu recalled. “Finally, someone called me from Pennsylvania, and we’re sitting right on the line, and said ‘You need to get out of your house. There’s been a 50-car derailment and a big fire.’”

Georgescu fled to Rives Junction, a little less than 300 miles away from her home, to stay with family. Although she’s staying busy making maple syrup and playing with her grandkids, she said she can’t help but wonder when she’ll be able to safely return home. Just days after the train wreck, Georgescu said people in her area were told that the water and air and that it was safe to return home.

“I don’t believe that and I don’t know what’s making people sick but maybe it’s the powder and the dust that’s in my house,” Georgescu said. “That was giving me headaches when I went in. It was giving me burning eyes which I still have.”

Norfolk Southern owns the train and said that 15,000 pounds of soil and 1.1 million gallons of water have been contaminated.

Georgescu said the train continued on its path although flames were seen coming from underneath.

“So, we would call that human error,” she said.

Georgescu said it’s more than having to leave their homes, people have fled their livelihoods and community to avoid exposure to toxic chemicals.

“I now have almost nothing and to rebuild my life would cost a lot of money,” Georgescu said.

And in the meantime, Georgescu has her grandkids to keep her busy. You can help Barbara Georgescu rebuild her life by donating to her GoFundMe account.

Government officials are advising residents in East Palestine that the water is now safe to drink. Tuesday, February 21, 2023, the state of Ohio opened a new health clinic to address the growing reports of rashes, headaches, nausea, and other symptoms.

Read next:

Subscribe to our News 10 newsletter and receive the latest local news and weather straight to your email every morning.