EAST PALESTINE, Ohio — Norfolk Southern is getting ready to set up a fund meant to reimburse homeowners who live near the site of the train derailment in East Palestine and want to sell their homes. The railroad said the fund will help those who sell for less than what the property was worth before the incident.

But some residents still have concerns.

What You Need To Know

  • Norfolk Southern's CEO said the railroad will set up a fund to reimburse homeowners who sell at a loss

  • Only residents who live within five miles of the derailment qualify

  • One resident said he is worried he can't sell his home at all

Eric Cozza said he was a longtime renter of his home, and just seven months ago, he decided to buy it. He didn't know that decision would change his life.

"I wish I had never bought it now. Yeah, it was bad timing. It's been kind of a rollercoaster," he said.

The East Palestine train derailment and release of toxic chemicals happened less than a mile from where Cozza and his family live.

"We have 47 family members in the one-mile zone all together. We are all separated now," he said.

Cozza said his health is being impacted by the derailment and chemical release. He said he struggled to get tested for vinyl chloride and later found out that he was positive.

"It shows right here .05 is the reporting limit, but I’m at .06," he said.

Homeowners in East Palestine have been concerned about the value of their homes since the derailment. In a letter to lawmakers, Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw said the railroad is working on a plan to evaluate property in the area and compensate those who sell for less than it was worth prior to the derailment.  

Cozza said he would leave East Palestine if he could, especially if his health is on the line.

"I can’t leave my home, of course. I have a mortgage. We can never find a six-bedroom home," he said.

Cozza said he's not sure what to make of the offer and isn't sure the railroad will compensate him for all that he and others have lost.

"It’s almost impossible. I can’t rent it out for a $1,000 because nobody is going to live in this polluted town for $1,000 a month," he said.