Only in Ohio


Anna Lucia Arguello, Staff Writer

“Only in Ohio.” Not too long ago, the meme was in full swing, coupling a normal seeming caption with the most confusing footage the account could find. The craze has begun to wind down, but not so much so that it won’t occasionally appear on TikTok or YouTube Shorts. Still, a meme is all it was. Something to laugh at the absurdity of and forget the same day. Nothing really happens in Ohio. At least, it didn’t used to, until a train crashed, and a steel factory exploded within miles of each other. Now the small, rural town of East Palestine is left to live with the consequences. 

On February third, there was a loud crash, and a blazing fire appeared on the horizon. The train, previously ignored by many as background noise, was carrying vinyl chloride. The chemical is highly flammable, and firefighters were forced to dump it into a trench to put the resulting fire out. Since then, locals have posted photos of dead animals, from birds to foxes. Government officials evacuated the area to test the air quality and determined there is no immediate threat. Effects of long-term exposure, however, are still being investigated. Norfolk Southern, the company responsible for the spill, assured the public that the water likely isn’t toxic to humans and that the real concern is environmental. Still, many citizens elected to stay out of town until the threat is better understood. 

On the twentieth of the same month, a steel factory in the same area failed. Smoke filled the sky and shrapnel rained down, causing injury and even death. Though chemical consequences don’t seem to be a concern, thirteen people were admitted to the hospital. Again, the company is unaware of the cause, but is reassuring the public that safety is a top priority. Besides debris damage, Schumann and Co. insist that the surrounding areas are habitable. East Palestine, on their second forced evacuation of the month, may be getting a bit tired of this speech.