Ohio train derailment: Video appeared to show wheel bearing overheating

EAST PALESTINE, Ohio — Officials investigating what caused a train to derail earlier this month in East Palestine, prompting evacuations and concerns over toxic chemicals, said Tuesday that video appears to show a wheel bearing overheating before the derailment.

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“Surveillance video from a residence showed what appears to be a wheel bearing in the final stage of overheat failure moments before the derailment,” the National Transportation Safety Board said in an update published Tuesday. Authorities have collected the wheelset and the suspected overheated wheel bearing for examination.

Officials said the Norfolk Southern Railway train was carrying a variety of items, including frozen vegetables, malt liquor and paraffin wax, when it derailed just before 9 p.m. on Feb. 3. Thirty-eight cars derailed, sparking a fire that damaged 12 additional cars. Ten of the derailed cars also contained hazardous materials, including vinyl chloride, butyl acrylates and isobutylene.

After the derailment, residents feared a possible explosion that authorities described as potentially catastrophic. In the days after the derailment, people living within a mile or two of the incident were evacuated from their homes so that authorities could initiate a controlled release of hazardous chemicals. Gov. Mike DeWine said last week that anyone who ignored the evacuation order would be “at risk of severe injury … including skin burns and serious lung damage.”

The evacuation order was lifted on Feb. 8, according to WHIO-TV. Officials with the Environmental Protection Agency continue to monitor air quality in the area.

Gov. Mike DeWine is expected to provide an update about the derailment on Tuesday afternoon, WHIO reported.

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