EAST PALESTINE, Ohio — It's been just over a week since the community of East Palestine had their lives turned upside down by a train derailment.
What You Need To Know
- On Friday, Feb. 3, many residents in East Palestine had to evacuate following a train accident
- Marnie Bistarkey lives over a half mile from the derailment scene and is still picking up the pieces
- Norfolk Southern is offering in-home air monitoring through its Family Assistance Center
"Being in a small town, you know everybody. It's scary. It really is,” said Marnie Bistarkey.
East Palestine is a small village, and Bistarkey never expected it to be the scene of a major train accident.
The train derailed just over a half mile from Bistarkey's home. Her family of five, plus their seven pets, had to evacuate. Now they're all home, left picking up the pieces.
"It's been very emotional,” Bistarkey said. “It's the unknown that has you really nervous."
The hardest part for her was knowing her uncle and cousin, who are first responders, were both deployed to the scene.
"I have family on the frontlines,” said Bistarkey. “My uncle's the assistant fire chief. His son, my cousin, is one of the captains at the fire department. So, it was really emotional at one point with that, but they're all safe now."
Her concern now is the air quality and her family's health.
"My kids aren't little. They're teenagers and young adults, but still I worry about what could happen down the line,” said Bistarkey. “If they have kids, is it going to cause problems for them? Just the unknown mainly. That really has me stressed out."
Norfolk Southern is offering in-home air monitoring through its Family Assistance Center and local officials have assured air and water quality screenings have been taking place since the derailment, saying so far that all of the levels are safe. Still, on Saturday, the East Palestine Police Department said a task group would be knocking on doors that have been identified as "at risk" due to drinking water wells in the area.
Bistarkley remains optimistic.
"I hope that everyone is safe and that we're not going to have any long-term effects of this, but it's scary."