Small business owners in East Palestine struggling after train derailment

EAST PALESTINE, Ohio — It’s been two weeks since the Norfolk Southern train carrying toxic chemicals derailed in East Palestine, Ohio, and the village is still very much in recovery mode.

“I know a lot of our businesses are already suffering greatly because people don’t want to come here,” Dianna Elzer said. She and her husband own and operate Sutherin Greenhouse. It’s located three miles from the derailment site.

Business has been bad.

“It’s devastating. The longer it goes on, the worse it gets,” husband Donald said.

The couple owns multiple properties in East Palestine, including their home. They’ve lived there since 2007 and made it their mission to try and revitalize the area.

“We were struggling to find out a way forward in a successful manner and this incident is devastating,” Dianna said. “Our property values. Who is going to buy a house here now? It’s going to be a long struggle to get back to where we were.”

It’s the uncertainty of the present and future that’s causing them to lose sleep.

“It’s not what we see. They’re telling us the water is fine, but the fish are all dying. They’re telling us the air is fine, but it burns your eyes or your throat,” Donald said.

Dianna’s daughter started a fundraising page to help cover expenses for people in the area.

At last check, it had raised nearly $40,000. Click here if you’d like to donate.

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