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Law firm brings in independent expert for water and soil testing in East Palestine

Firm handling class action lawsuit against Norfolk Southern
Train Derailment Ohio
Posted at 5:24 PM, Feb 24, 2023

EAST PALESTINE, Ohio — It has been three weeks since that fiery train derailment in East Palestine. A law firm is on the ground right now doing some independent testing on air, soil and water. 

Simmons Hanly Conroy is going after Norfolk Southern with a class action lawsuit.

The firm wants to identify any toxins they can to help give some relief to families upended by the derailment.

It’s testing for many of the chemicals that leaked from the derailed train that private labs can’t test for.

"The big issue is, I think it's premature to say everything's fine,” Engineering and Experts Services (EES) owner Stephen Petty, said. EES was hired by Simmons Hanly Conroy.

At each site, Petty is taking between seven and 30 samples.

He says he’s done a number of railroad cases with different chemicals and has been in East Palestine since Monday.

"I'm looking for water where things deposited on. Right, so I've done ponds, ditches, bird baths, buckets of water, and we have sampled well and drinking water,” Petty said.

Petty says he’s not limited to what private labs can only do. He’s testing for vinyl chloride and more.

"I realized early on from the literature one of the biproducts of burning vinyl chloride is dioxins so I suggested the firm sample for those,” Petty said.

Attorney Jayne Conroy has been meeting with homeowners, renters and business owners. 

She’s walking them through how a class action lawsuit like this works, the types of investigation and evidence collecting they do.

She says people are frightened.

"They fear for their children and their loved ones what are these toxins are going to do,” Conroy said.

Conroy says they can’t change their psyche but hopefully will get them money along with accountability and change.

"We need to get some sunshine on this issue and these running of this railroad through East Palestine and anywhere else in the country where there are these trains that are going through backyards,” Conroy said.

The independent tester hopes to get in the rail yard next week to get samples from cars, standing water and soil.

As for the samples he’s collecting this week, he expects results back in ten days.

The firm met with East Palestine families Tuesday and plans to meet with more families Friday night in Pennsylvania.

RELATED: Activist Erin Brockovich attending town hall in East Palestine

CLICK HERE to read News 5's continuing coverage of the East Palestine train derailment.

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