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The Ohio train derailment prompted an urgent evacuation as crews prepare to slowly release deadly and unstable chemicals to avoid a catastrophic explosion

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine talking to reporters from a podium
Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine has ordered a mandatory evacuation of the area.Gene J. Puskar/AP
  • Crews working on the Ohio train derailment are planning a "controlled release" of deadly chemicals.

  • Officials have said that train cars were carrying the dangerous chemical vinyl chloride.

  • To avoid an explosion, officials need to release the chemical by drilling a hole into the tank car.

Crews working on the fiery Ohio train derailment are planning a "controlled release" of deadly, unstable chemicals to avoid what the governor called a "catastrophic explosion."

Officials have warned that five train cars were carrying the dangerous chemical vinyl chloride, a chemical used to make the plastic PVC, which is used in pipes, car parts, packing materials, and more, according to the Ohio Department of Health.

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Because of the derailment, the chemical could explode, emitting toxic fumes and causing deadly shrapnel to shoot through the air up to a mile, CNN reported.

To prevent that from happening, rail crews need to release the chemical by drilling a small hole into the tank car, an official with the railroad told local outlet WKYC.

"This will allow the material to come out of the tank car," Scott Deutsch, a Norfolk Southern Railroad official, said on Monday, according to WKYC. "It will go into a pit and trench that we have dug and set up for this operation. Inside that trench will be flares lining that trench that then will light off the material."

Deutsch said the process could take one to three hours.

CNN reported that all residents within a one-by-two-mile radius of the train have been evacuated. As of Sunday night, more than 500 people still refused to leave, according to a statement by the governor.

"You need to leave. You just need to leave. We are ordering you to leave," Gov. DeWine said to those being evacuated during a press conference, according to WKYC. "This is a matter of life and death."

DeWine also said that anyone who remains in the area could face a "grave danger of death," CNN reported.

The 50-car train carrying toxic chemicals has been on fire since it derailed on Friday near East Palestine, a small town in Ohio near the Pennsylvania border.

Read the original article on Insider