EAST PALESTINE, Ohio — One month after the train derailment, an East Palestine resident shared his frustration and helplessness when it comes to the ongoing recovery and relief effort.
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“We should be telling them how we want our town fixed, communities, counties and we should be demanding those things it shouldn’t be “hey, you ruined our lives, what do you suggest? How are you going to fix our lives?” East Palestine Resident Giovanni Irizarry said.
Irizarry asked to meet at a serene park in East Palestine, at least, that’s how it was before the derailment.
Now, it's a major site for the water cleanup, and some can expect a headache if you stay too long.
He shared his ongoing frustration with Norfolk Southern and the amount of control it appears they have with the subsequent cleanup.
“That’s like asking a drunk driver to fix my car after you just hit it. I wouldn’t trust the drunk driver who hit me to fix my car, would you?” Irizarry said.
He’s fighting for his family and his community while fighting symptoms that popped up following the controlled release of toxic chemicals a month ago
“For me it’s a lot of mouth and lip tingling and chest issues and then for other people in my family it’s vertigo and coughing and headaches for days at a time," Irizarry said.
So now, he’s advocating for his town, the town he loves, and plans to continue until he feels people are listening.
"We need someone in office who seems willing to help us, and it doesn’t seem like anyone’s going to, and that’s the scary part," Irizarry said.
For that, he has a simple request.
"There’s no one going around and asking what the people need. It’s people going to these meetings frustrated and venting, then the Norfolk Southern representative going “we’ll write your name down, I’ll take care of you.” What about everybody else?" Irizarry said.