Beaver County

Beaver County emergency services director testifies on Capitol Hill concerning train derailment

BEAVER COUNTY, Pa. — The Pennsylvania Department of Health announced Friday it will extend its services to Pennsylvania residents living near the Norfolk Southern train derailment. Staff from the Department of Health and Department of Agriculture and Environmental Protection will stay on site through next Thursday to answer questions from residents.

Those concerns about residents’ safety and livelihoods were weighing on the mind of Beaver County’s head of emergency services.

Eric Brewer, the director of emergency services for Beaver County testified for five minutes yesterday in front of a congressional panel investigating the Norfolk Southern train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio. Brewer was also the head of the hazmat team from Beaver County that responded to the scene.

“There wasn’t a script for this. There was no binder for me labeled ‘train wreck.’ Everyone needs to know we did the best with the information we had,” Brewer said while speaking to lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

Brewer was the only Pennsylvania responder to testify. He told Channel 11 it was important to him that lawmakers understood the scope and the wide-reaching impact of the derailment.

“The accident happened in East Palestine. It was 800 feet from the Pennsylvania line. Some residents in Darlington are closer than the residents in East Palestine they’re taking care of,” said Brewer.

Brewer said he wants to make sure Darlington residents are afforded the same compensation, a $1,000 convenience payout, that Norfolk Southern has offered to East Palestine residents. He said this could affect the rural farming community for months, maybe years to come.

“We’re coming up on crop planting season. They (Beaver County farmers) want to know if the soil is going to be good. Some customers are cancelling their orders,” said Brewer.

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