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'The gates of hell were opened': Sara Carter speaks to East Palestine residents after toxic chemical release

Investigative reporter Sara Carter spoke with residents in East Palestine, Ohio, about the release of toxic chemicals and whether they had concerns about returning home on 'Hannity.'

Fox News investigative reporter Sara Carter spoke with residents of East Palestine, Ohio, who are concerned about returning home after a train carrying toxic chemicals derailed. 

Carter said residents want answers from the federal government and from Norfolk Southern Railroad, the company whose train derailed with roughly 20 cars of toxic chemicals. 

"You can see the caution tape right here behind me and the creek running behind me. Workers have been here all day and night trying to clean out this creek bed with running water. Neighbors in the area [say] some of the houses have been left abandoned here for the last 11 days. They're afraid to come home," she explained Tuesday on "Hannity."

Stephen Szekely, chief of the Mahoning County hazmat team, spoke exclusively with Carter, saying, "the gates of hell were opened." 

"I responded with Springfield Township because I'm also a volunteer fireman there. And we were one of the first mutual aid units on scene," he stated. "So we were fighting the fire and it was hot, you know, and so it was a lot of fire and there's a lot of stuff going on. And it was just it was unbelievable."

Officials decided to do a controlled burn of the chemicals in order to prevent an explosion. Szekely added that if officials hadn't done what they did, things could have been worse. 


"If they didn't do what they did, then you would have had a bleve, which is a boiling liquid expanding vapor explosion," he told Carter. "So what happens is the pressure builds up in the tank and when it explodes, shrapnel goes every direction for a half mile to a mile. So in order for that to not happen, that's why they did the control release and burn so that the explosion would not occur."

Residents of East Palestine, whose names were not provided, shared their concerns about the toxic release

One woman said she was "very" concerned about the incident, adding almost half of her family lives in the town. 

A man told Carter he used to see sparrows all the time in his yard, but since the derailment, he has "yet to see one." 

Carter asked the same woman if she believed officials who said it was safe to return home. 

"No," she responded. 


She added that her worst concern was that the release of the chemicals would cause cancer. 

"We've all been exposed. It's not a one-mile thing. It's going to end up in the water."

West Virginia American Water, a utility company that monitors water quality along the Ohio River, said it was enhancing its water treatment process as a precaution and that it was going to install a secondary intake on the Guyandotte River in case there is a need to switch to an alternate water source. 

The EPA's Great Lakes region tweeted on Tuesday that it had screened 396 homes and no detections of vinyl chloride or hydrogen chloride were identified, with 64 additional homes still left to screen. 

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