Video Shows Norfolk Southern Train with Axle(s) on Fire Miles Before Derailment. Evidence Suggests at Least 40 Minutes Before Derailment

On February 3, 2023, a Norfolk Southern freight train hauling carcinogenic chemicals derailed in the small town of East Palestine, Ohio, sending plumes of dangerous gas into the atmosphere during a “controlled release” burn.  The main chemical mentioned in reports, vinyl chloride, is used to make PVC.  Exposure to vinyl chloride is known to cause certain cancers, according to

Vinyl chloride exposure is associated with an increased risk of a rare form of liver cancer (hepatic angiosarcoma), as well as primary liver cancer (hepatocellular carcinoma), brain and lung cancers, lymphoma, and leukemia.

The Gateway Pundit reported yesterday about additional chemicals that were disclosed as being a part of this derailment and the impact its having thus far on local wildlife.  Fish and aquatic life are turning up dead in local creeks and rivers that feed into the Ohio River and eventually, the Mississippi River.  Most residents, however, have been told they can return safely to their homes.

TGP will be releasing more articles specifically focused around the preventability of this accident, but first, the direct cause needs to be clear: shocking video released by the Post-Gazette shows CCTV footage of the Norfolk Southern train moments before it derailed.  In this video, the axles on one car appear to be on fire.  This is confirmed by a photo shown to The Gateway Pundit in color and with a timestamp.   The timestamp on the photo suggests this axle was on fire at least 40 minutes prior to the reported 9pm derailment.

According to the article from the Post-Gazette, a retired Norfolk Southern engineer claims that a sensor should have picked up that the axles  were overheated and/or on fire and immediately shut down the train to figure out the problem:

On the railroad tracks in front of Fresh Mark, there is an instrument called a hot box detector, which scans the temperature of the passing train axles to ensure they are not overheated. If the device finds a problem, a defect detection alert sounds over the train radio.

Detecting a defect so hot that it would appear to be on fire would require the crew to stop the train immediately and inspect the problem, said Scott Wilcox, a retired Norfolk Southern engineer who worked on the Fort Wayne line, where trains travel between Chicago and the big railyard in the Beaver County town of Conway.

Hot box detectors are typically spaced every 10 to 20 miles apart, Mr. Wilcox said. On this particular track, the next detector after Salem was in East Palestine. The train would have passed that one less than a mile before derailing on Feb. 3.

If the train crew heard an alert shortly before braking, it is likely that the warning came from the detector in East Palestine.

As The Gateway Pundit reported yesterday, the NTSB and, specifically its Secretary, Pete Buttigieg, have been relatively quiet regarding this derailment on their website.  There is no mention of it on the News Release page.  The last update was January 26th, 2023 regarding the bridge in Pennsylvania that collapsed.  (Update: as of this afternoon,  after this publication, the NTSB did issue a statement to their website).

Buttigieg did publish a Tweet late last night.  A full 10 days since the derailment.




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