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Friday, February 24, 2023

Supervisor Barger Calls for Report on LA County Train Derailment Readiness


The rising smoke cloud after authorities released chemicals from a train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio as seen from the ground in a nearby neighborhood on Feb 6, 2023. [RJ Bobin/Shutterstock]

Reacting to the recent train derailment in Ohio, Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger will ask her colleagues next week to support a call for an assessment of the county’s level of readiness to respond to a similar disaster.

The fiery Feb. 3 Ohio derailment prompted evacuations when toxic chemicals were burned after being released from five tanker rail cars carrying vinyl chloride that were in danger of exploding.

The town of East Palestine, Ohio, has been gripped by fear and anxiety since the derailment.

Barger’s motion going before the board Tuesday would direct the county’s Office of Emergency Management to assess and report on the county’s level of preparedness and general disaster response readiness in the event a similar derailment takes place locally.

“Freight rail plays a critical role in the delivery of goods and commodities in our region and beyond, since Los Angeles County is home to the largest port in North America,” Barger said in a statement. “Our county has one of the seven Class I Rail Corridors in the nation. The corridors are shared by commuter, intercity, and freight rail operators and are located near populated areas and residential communities, so it is important for our board to understand how the County can and would respond to potential derailments and disasters.”

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