Cats and other indoor pets in and around East Palestine, Ohio, the site of the Norfolk Southern train derailment and controlled explosion, are getting sick and, in some cases, dying due to exposure to toxic fumes.
One family in East Palestine lost their cat Leo, who developed labored breathing following the incident. It did not take long after that for Leo to pass, presumably from vinyl chloride poisoning.
“When we got here, I noticed that he was having a hard time breathing,” said Andrea Belden and Zack Cramer to local Ohio CBS affiliate WKBN. “It was very fast. It was very labored. His heart rate was up. I thought that he was just having a panic attack.”
Belden and Cramer gave little Leo food and water before letting him sleep. The next morning, they found that he had not moved at all throughout the night, prompting them to take him to the vet.
“They thought he was having an asthma attack, then they started to tell me, ‘Well, it seems to be a run-of-the-mill congestive heart failure,’” Belden revealed about the details of Leo’s passing.
Leo had developed fluid around his heart that animal doctors attempted to remove, but to no avail. The feline’s liver enzymes were also seven times their normal rate.
“When a cat has congestive heart failure, as was explained to us by the vet, that doesn’t affect the liver whatsoever,” Belden and Cramer said.
(Related: Area residents near the derailment site are seething with anger over the government’s downplaying of the severity of the chemical release.)
Vet confirms local cat’s sudden death “could be due to vinyl chloride gases”
After Leo’s passing, the Pittsburgh Veterinary Specialty Clinic where he was treated released a statement explaining that the cat’s sudden death “could be due to vinyl chloride gases,” which were released during a “controlled explosion” of the derailed train.
“They said, well, it must have been vinyl chloride poisoning that exacerbated his heart condition because they think that he had a genetic heart condition beforehand that was underlying that may not have been triggered without the vinyl chloride,” Belden added.
The costs associated with treating Leo amounted to $10,000, which Belden and Cramer are now attempting to get back from Norfolk Southern. So far, the company is refusing to reimburse them.
“Norfolk Southern told me that that was not an emergency and that was not something that they were going to look at right now or reimburse for right now,” Belden explained. “But they were going to go ahead and entertain that in the future if I file a damaged property claim.”
Numerous other reports have emerged throughout the region about dead foxes, fish, chickens, and other animals. All of them exhibited symptoms of toxic exposure, suggesting a mass die-off event is occurring.
The fact that even indoor animals are suffering and dying points to the severity of this incident, which is one of the most environmentally destructive incidents to ever occur in the country.
“BlackRock, Vanguard, and JPMorgan are the largest holders in Norfolk Southern,” one commenter wrote about the situation. “They’ll take a hit on that investment as Norfolk is liable. I wonder if they have lobbyists to help?”
“Not if this brings in ‘disaster funds,’” responded another.
“Anyone who lives near the river should be grabbing gallons of that stuff so it can be sent to an independent inspector,” expressed someone else. “Video document everything.”
“Why aren’t we seeing this on the news?” asked another person about the alleged media blackout taking place.
Want to keep up with the latest news about the Ohio train derailment? You can do so at Disaster.news.
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