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After train derailment, neighbors aid neighbors [Charleston Daily Mail Editorial]

Charleston Daily Mail Editorial – February 19, 2015

No time is a good time for a fiery train derailment. But one could hardly imagine a worse week than this one, with its snow and frigid temperatures.

The CSX train that derailed Monday in Fayette County brought with it a host of unexpected challenges for residents, from burning buildings to water warnings. And the brutal weather conditions made all of it more difficult.

But emergency responders and relief organizations were undeterred, stepping in immediately to provide help.

The Red Cross acted with its customary speed and efficiency, providing shelter for residents who were forced out of their homes overnight by the burning tank cars. CSX is now providing hotel rooms for displaced residents.

Multiple organizations provided bottled water, including J&J Trucking, a local company that diverted a tractor-trailer that was already filled with pallets of water.

Fraternity members from West Virginia University Institute of Technology in Montgomery volunteered to help distribute water to members of the community while the safety of the water supply remained uncertain.

Lawmakers, including U.S. Representative Evan Jenkins, Sen. Joe Manchin and Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin, and their staffs also reacted quickly to communicate with constituents and keep the public informed.

And most importantly, emergency first responders — many of them volunteers — have been working tirelessly since Monday to control fires, direct traffic and get residents the help they need.

Throughout the crisis, those affected have been able to dial 211 — a 24-hour toll-free hotline — for referrals to places where they can receive shelter, water and other support.

Residents of Fayette County could hardly have predicted on Monday that the weather would among be the least of this week’s worries.

But thanks to the exemplary work of emergency personnel and dedicated volunteers, those whose lives were disrupted by the train derailment have remained safe amidst the cold and confusion.

It’s something to be thankful for as we look forward to warmer and less eventful days ahead.

Read the original editorial from the Charleston Daily Mail.