A freight train carrying hazardous chemicals derailed and burst into flames in East Palestine, Ohio. The cloud of smoke that then formed over the community could be seen from afar, and the place had to be evacuated. A scenario that seemed familiar to the residents in a bizarre way.

The events were very similar to those in the Netflix film “White Noise”. Also in the film adaptation of a novel by US writer Don DeLillo, released in 2022, there is a train accident, followed by evacuations because of the threat of chemicals that pollute the air. And coincidentally, the film was shot in the very area that is now witnessing this nightmare first hand.

Some of the people who were forced to leave their homes even worked as extras in director-writer Noah Baumbach’s film. He tried to watch the film again after the accident, one of them told CNN – but he couldn’t. “Suddenly it’s just too close,” he reported. “The first half of the film is almost exactly what is happening here.” “White Noise” is about the family of a university professor who are fleeing the impending environmental catastrophe. The book is based on the year 1985: At that time, Don DeLillo wrote his novel under the impression of a catastrophe in India, where 4000 people fell victim to a cloud of poison.

Since the accident, residents in East Palestine have complained of health issues including headaches, irritated eyes and a rash. There are fears that rain could wash pollutants into local streams and rivers. According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, four watercourses have been contaminated and thousands of dead fish have been found.

Meanwhile, the authorities are trying to calm the local people. “The health and safety of the population is our top priority,” said White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre. The director of the US Environmental Protection Agency, Michael Reagan, stressed that no traces of chemicals such as vinyl chloride or hydrogen chloride were found during the inspection of 480 houses.

Sources: CNN / Netflix / DPA