Ohio villagers return after air deemed safe from derailment

East Palestine, Ohio: Evacuated residents can return to the Ohio village where crews burned toxic chemicals after a train derailed five days ago near the Pennsylvania state line now that monitors show no dangerous levels in the air, authorities said Wednesday.

Around-the-clock testing inside and outside the evacuation zone around the village of East Palestine and a sliver of Pennsylvania showed the air had returned to normal levels that would have been seen before the derailment, said James Justice of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

“Hundreds and hundreds of data points we’ve collected over the time show the air quality is safe,” he said.

Residents were ordered to evacuate when authorities decided on Monday to release and burn five tankers filled with vinyl chloride, sending hydrogen chloride and the toxic gas phosgene into the air.

“We know everybody’s frustrated. Everybody wants to be in their homes. We did the best we can,” said Mayor Trent Conaway. “The number one goal is public safety, and we accomplished that. Nobody was injured, nobody died.”

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