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A toxic chemical spill put her small town in the national spotlight. Now she’s running for mayor

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Mitsi Allison in front of a microphone. She wears a red badge with

The 19th, November 2023

On an otherwise normal Friday night this past February, Misti Allison received a text from her sister-in-law that a train had derailed not far from Allison’s house in East Palestine, Ohio. She didn’t think much of it, other than concern for those who might be injured. There had been incidents with the trains that run through town before, usually accidents with cars attempting to cross the tracks.

As Allison tucked her kids into bed, she could hear sirens wailing. Her husband went out to investigate and sent a picture of what he saw from the bottom of their driveway. In the direction of the train tracks, just past the high school football bleachers, a stand of trees was backlit by a large fire that sent billowing clouds of smoke into the night sky. Their house was just over a mile from the derailment.

“It just felt like you were in an apocalyptic movie,” Allison said. The next morning, Allison smelled something peculiar when she got up to take their family dog outside. “It was more sweet or like more chemical in nature,” she said. “That’s when we started to get worried, because no one had discussed yet about what was on the train.” 

Continue reading at The 19th.

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