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'It's ridiculous': East Palestine residents continue to express anger nearly 2 weeks after train derailment

Every day now brings a new struggle, and simple, familiar things like just watching passing freight trains bring on whole new emotions.

EAST PALESTINE, Ohio — While numerous politicians spent their time in East Palestine Wednesday, so have the many thousands of residents who live here, and they say they still have many, many safety concerns.

"If they don't have the data, say they don't have the data," villager Zsuzsa Gynes said. "Don't say, 'It's safe, you're fine, raise your babies here even though they're getting sick and having nosebleeds,' you know? God knows what we're going to see in five, 10, 15, 20 years."

Gynes just returned to her home in yesterday, packing with her more questions and frustrations along with the heavy baggage of being forced to evacuate last week. When asked what she wants national leaders who were in town today to know from a local's perspective, she gave an honest, passionate response.

"Why the f--- are we getting sick?" she angrily asked. "Why do we have this overwhelming chemical smell in our homes? You know, it's not a good enough answer, and I feel like we're not given the transparency."

Chad Davidson lives right on one of the waterways outside of town contaminated during the derailment and controlled release of chemicals. He relies on private well water, and has had to turn to bottled for the time being.

"Don't forget about the people who live outside of East Palestine who are effected by this disaster, you know? That's my key in this thing," he said. "[The nearby community of] Negley is affected, Leslie Run is destroyed right now, and what am I supposed to do for a clean water source right now? I have a family. I have friends who live out there. What are we supposed to do? Use five-gallon water jugs to take a shower? It's ridiculous is what it is."

This is their reality, and these are the questions they want answered — for themselves, for their families, for their community.

"Long term is on everyone's mind, because like I said, we have well water," another resident named Hogan remarked. "Could it get down to there? We're downhill, so it could happen."

All these questions, and now, simple, familiar things like just watching passing freight trains bring on whole new emotions.

"I've lived in this area my whole life," Davidson said. "They've always flew through this town. When I was a kid, 55, 60 miles per hour was the normal for them."

For residents like Chad and Zsuzsa, whose lives changed 13 days ago, every day now brings a new struggle.

"It's terrifying," Gynes admitted. "It makes me start crying and even hyperventilating seeing the trains, and even if they're not moving on the train track. All of it. Smelling any weird smells is really triggering."


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