EAST PALESTINE, Ohio (WKBN) – The owner of a manufacturing plant located at ground zero of the East Palestine train derailment is taking Norfolk Southern railroad to court.
Edwin Wang doesn’t mince words when talking about the impact of February’s train derailment in East Palestine.
“Literally devastated my life and my multiple businesses in East Palestine,” Wang said.
Wang is the owner of CeramFab located at ground zero where the derailment happened. He bought the property in 2019, pumped about $4 million into it, and started producing ceramic fiber insulation products for use in steel mills and foundries. That all came to a sudden stop on February 3.
A new piece of finishing equipment had just been installed at the facility a couple of months before the derailment. It never got put to use and sits there along with everything else.
Now, Wang and his attorneys have filed a half-billion dollar federal lawsuit against Norfolk Southern, blaming the railroad for the loss of his business and millions in unfilled contracts.
“You are the creator of the disaster. We are the victims of this disaster. Do we have to suffer from all this?” Wang asked.
Wang claims while crews were removing contaminated soil and water from the area, his shipping bay was flooded several times. and now his workers and customers are afraid to come back.
“Right now, we have no future,” Wang said.
Norfolk Southern declined to comment on the lawsuit, but spokesman Thomas Crosson said the railroad is “actively supporting businesses in their recovery efforts.” That includes reaching confidential settlements with 11 businesses and offering $1.8 million to 55 others, according to the Associated Press.
Wang’s attorney said he started reaching out to Norfolk Southern last spring, hoping to avoid going to court.
“They were just not willing to engage in any meaningful way and because of that, we’re going to have to go through this process,” said Attorney Jon Conlin.
All while Wang faces a lot of uncertainty.
Patty Coller contributed to this report.