East Palestine, Ohio, residents speak out about train disaster at CNN town hall

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Jim Stewart, right, speaks to Alan Shaw during a town hall on February 22.
Jim Stewart, right, speaks to Alan Shaw during a town hall on February 22. (CNN)

Jim Stewart, who has lived in East Palestine, Ohio, for 65 years, said he no longer feels safe in his town after the train derailment earlier this month.

“I’m angry about this,” he told Norfolk Southern CEO Alan Shaw.

“I don’t feel safe in this town now, you took it away from me. You took this away from us,” Stewart said.

He said he lives very close to the derailment site and although there has been testing of the air quality around his property he said he is “afraid to put my dog out just to pee.”

Stewart said he feels a sense of loss and he worries about the value of his home and his ability to retire in the coming years.

“I don’t call it a derailment, I call it a disaster,” Stewart said.

“Did you shorten my life, now? I want to retire and enjoy it. How are we gonna enjoy it? You burned me,” he said. He talked about the uncertainty of if it is safe to do things around his home, from mowing the grass to planting vegetables.

In response, Shaw said he is going to “make it right” by cleaning up the chemicals, reimbursing residents and making investments to improve the safety of trains.


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