Despite reassurances from officials and NS, West Virginia University student finds tens of thousands of dead animals in Leslie Run Creek, other residents continue to report illness, sick and dying animals

State and federal officials and Norfolk Southern continue to tell residents everything is fine in the region surrounding the derailment, fire, and toxic chemical spill that has devastated East Palestine, but there is a continuous flow of stories from residents and scientists that raise both doubts about the official storyline and serious concerns about how much danger people are in today and will be in years from now.

For example, Sam Hall, a sophomore studying Wildlife and Fisheries Resource Management at West Virginia University discovered and took video of tens of thousands of dead animals in Leslie Run Creek which is located about one and one-half miles from the crash site.

“It’s a catastrophe. Everything is dead there’s nothing. You shouldn’t walk through a creek and see piles of dead things floating past you, it should be life.”

“There’s dead frogs, dead crayfish, dead fish, everything in the creek is dead and it was all just sitting on the bottom covered in fungus rotting and there’s just a terrible chemical smell through this entire valley,” Hall said.

Hall isn’t alone in documenting disastrous impact of the spill. Taylor Holzer runs Parker Dairy, and is registered with ODNR as a fox keeper. He told Channel 19 news that Two of his foxes have died since the derailment, and several others are still very sick.

“Out of nowhere, he just started coughing really hard, just shut down, and he had liquid diarrhea and just went very fast,” Holzer said. Holzer is still busy trying to save his other foxes, but he hopes his story will raise awareness.

As we’ve said since the day the derailment occurred, everyone living in the area should document any and all health effects they or their animals suffer that may be related to the spill. Also keep a diary and track expenses you incur including lost wages, loss of business income, damage to equipment and vehicles.

And remember, don’t sign any forms or papers you receive from Norfolk Souther or their insurers. Do contact Betras, Kopp & Markota today so we can begin protecting you, your family, and your ability to receive the just compensation you need and deserve.

You can reach us 24/7-365 by calling 330-746-8484 or completing and submitting the contact form on the home page of

You may access the iNaturalist page Hall created here:…/east-palestine-ohio-fish……/university-student-finds…/

Betras, Kopp & Markota will provide information, answer questions about Norfolk Southern derailment, fire, and toxic chemical release at public meeting on Thursday, February 16

Attorney David Betras, managing partner of Betras, Kopp and Markota, will conduct a public meeting on Thursday, February 16, 2023 to provide information and answer questions about the the Norfolk Southern train derailment, fire, and subsequent release of toxic chemicals that endangered people living in East Palestine, Ohio, eastern Ohio, and western Pennsylvania. The meeting will be held at the Shale Restaurant, 40964 State Route 154 in Lisbon, Ohio from 10:30 AM to Noon.

“Our office has been inundated with calls and messages from frightened, worried, and outraged residents since the derailment occurred,” Atty. Betras said. “People are confused about what they should do, whom they should trust, and what steps they should take to protect themselves, their families, businesses, and their legal rights. We’ll answer those questions and provide sound advice during the meeting.”

Attorney Betras urged people living in and within a 50-to-60-mile radius of East Palestine to attend the session because they have been exposed to the toxic brew of dangerous chemicals that were spewed into the air and spilled onto the ground and into the nearby streams and rivers as a result of crash. “We know that cars being driven in the rain 70 miles from the crash site have been covered in foul-smelling residue, that people getting on the Ohio turnpike in North Lima just two days ago reported feeling dizzy and light-headed, and that fish have been dying in the area streams and rivers,” Atty. Betras said. “Everyone in the region should be extremely cautious as the investigation of the derailment and its aftermath continues.”

Caution is required because new information about the chemicals in the train’s tank cars is being revealed as the inquiry by federal officials continues. “Initially, the main concern was vinyl chloride and its toxic components that were emitted into the air in large plumes of smoke during a controlled release,” Atty. Betras said. “Now we have learned that some of the cars were carrying other dangerous and potentially cancer-causing substances that were released into the air, ground, and water after the crash. Exposure to all these chemicals clearly presents a health risk to residents of this region.”

Residents and business owners should also exercise caution when dealing with either Norfolk Southern or the class action law firms that have descended on the area in the days after the crash. “According to reports, representatives of Norfolk Southern, a company worth $55 billion, are going door-to-door in East Palestine offering people small checks to defray their expenses,” Betras commented. “Everyone should carefully examine any papers or forms they are given to ensure they are not signing away their rights to sue the railroad in the future.”

“The same warning applies to representation agreements being circulated by out-of-town law firms,” he continued. “They are here to round up clients and as soon as they do, they’ll be gone and unreachable. There is no need to retain counsel before a more complete picture of exactly what happened and how it will impact people in the future emerges.”

Betras said the BKM legal team will not jeopardize the case by rushing into court. “We will thoroughly review the law and legal precedents, study the facts as they become available, and assess the potential damages before we file what would most likely be a federal class action lawsuit. One thing is certain, however, if we do file our clients will be able to reach us 24-7, 365 because we practice and live in this community.”

“Damages in cases involving environmental disasters like this go beyond the impact it has on health, lost wages, and loss of business income,” Betras noted. “For example, according to a US EPA study, incidents that cause property damage, evacuations, or shelter-in-place orders lead to a significant decrease in home values that cost families thousands of dollars. People concerned about the long-term impact of the spill may leave the area which will have a negative impact on businesses. The potential losses could reach into the tens of millions of dollars.”

Betras said his firm’s legal team, which has secured numerous multimillion dollar awards from Fortune 500 companies is more than capable of taking on Norfolk Southern. “The National Transportation Safety Board has identified the cause of this disaster,” he said. “NS is responsible for this dangerous situation and should be held accountable for the damage they have done to our families, our communities, and our environment. We look forward to discussing all the options available to residents of the region on Thursday.”

Clients will be accepted during the meeting.

For more information please contact Atty. David Betras at 330-503-9696. 

An important alert from Betras, Kopp & Markota to residents of East Palestine…Contact us Today at 330-746-8484. We are here to protect you, your family, and your legal rights!

An important alert from Betras, Kopp & Markota to residents of East Palestine…Contact us Today at 330-746-8484. We are here to protect you, your family, and your legal rights!

As you know, the fire that engulfed a derailed Norfolk & Southern freight train forced many East Palestine residents to flee their homes as First Responders work furiously to put out the blaze and contain dangerous chemicals that are leaking into the air and ground.

According to the National Transportation Safety Board, 20 of the 50 cars derailed were carrying hazardous materials including 12 loaded with Vinyl Chloride a colorless gas listed as a cancer-causing substance. Exposure to this or the other as yet undisclosed chemicals spilled in the derailment may cause short and long-term health risks. According to latest estimates more than 100,000 gallons or 1,000,000 pounds of highly toxic vinyl chloride has been spewed into the ground, air, and water in and around the crash site. Authorities were videoed scooping dead fish from rivers and streams in the area:

Business owners located near the derailment were forced to close, people unable to get to work will lose pay, and residents forced to leave their homes incurred a number of costs.

If you or someone you know lives in East Palestine, we urge you to contact us today to discuss your situation. We are here to provide sound advice and protect your rights. You can reach us at 330-746-8484 or messaging us on Facebook.

One important note: representatives of Norfolk & Southern set up a family assistance center in East Palestine. Please do not sign any release or forms given to you by the railroad or their insurance companies–you could be signing away your right to the compensation you and your family needs and deserves.

We also urge you not to sign representation agreements with out-of-town law firms. BKM has represented the residents of this area for more than 30 years. We are your friends and neighbors. We know the courts and we know how to win–our firm has secured numerous multi-million verdicts and settlements from Fortune 500 companies like NS.

We are here for you today and we will be here for you long after the out-of-town firms are gone. Our only goal is to hold Norfolk Souther accountable for their actions–actions that will endanger the people of this region for years to come.

Stay safe, our thoughts and prayers are with you and remember, we are here to help.