EAST PALESTINE, Ohio (WKBN) — Often art imitates life, but sometimes the opposite can happen. That was the case for an East Palestine man who was in a recent movie that’s eerily similar to the train derailment.
When Ben Ratner signed up to be an extra in “White Noise” — a movie about a train accident that caused a chemical leak — he never thought it would become his reality.
White Noise came out in 2022 and was shot around Ohio. Ratner was on the shoot in Salem.
He is an extra in a traffic jam scene sitting in a line of cars trying to evacuate. The movie follows a family after a train hits a tanker truck, creating a chemical cloud.
“My dad and I went and they had us basically in cars evacuating,” Ratner said.
The plot isn’t lost on the East Palestine community.
“There’s only so much negative people can focus on. They were like, ‘This movie is uncanny,'” Ratner said.
Ratner said he tried watching White Noise again after the derailment.
“Probably about 15 minutes in I turned it off. I couldn’t watch it anymore.”
The night of the fire, Ratner and his family were watching his kids’ basketball game and they weren’t sure what was wrong at first.
His family lives within what was the mile evacuation zone and it became clear they needed to get out.
“[I] loaded up the kids, wife and dog and the little bit of clothes we had from my mothers-in-law and went and stayed in Salem,” Ratner said.
He waited for a few days after the evacuation order to bring his wife, kids and dog back. He says he worries about the disaster in East Palestine.
His family doesn’t want to move, but they worry about health concerns and property value.
“You see your home as an investment for the future and if the railroad took that investment from us — there needs to be that consideration,” Ratner said.