Mayflower, Arkansas residents react to meeting with Exxon

    2:59 AM, Apr 3, 2013   |    comments
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    MAYFLOWER, Ark. (KTHV) -- As cleanup continues in Mayflower, many residents are still searching for answers. Exxon officials met with those residents in a private meeting to offer some sense of clarity for those living in the area.

    The meeting, held at Mayflower High School, happened Tuesday night. THV 11 News wasn't allowed inside the meeting, but 40-50 residents were able to file into the school cafeteria to talk to the officials, and when they came out, a lot of them didn't know much more than when they went in.

    Warren and Valerie Andrews said they have been staying in a hotel since Friday with their two children. They live just a few houses up from where the pipeline ruptured, and said they have just put their mother-in-law's home up for sale, which is in that same neighborhood. Now, they are afraid the property value will plummet.

    "I don't feasibly see how we can even get a fair market price now for the property. Plus, we own ours in the same neighborhood, and we're on the street that was affected. So, we have some property loss issues that we need answered," said Warren.

    The Andrews said they were fairly optimistic when they went into Tuesday's meeting.

    Residents told THV 11 News that Exxon spoke to everyone briefly. Then, they pulled residents that were the most affected by this spill into a separate room, and that is when the discussions became fairly heated.

    Joe Bradley told THV 11 News that he and his neighbors will continue to be evacuated for two to three more weeks.

    "There was a bunch of people there asking about their property value and how they';re never going to be able to sell their house. Their house is their biggest investment, and they really had no reply. Just 'Talk to the claims department' they said," Bradley described.

    Bradely said he refuses to move back into the neighborhood or let his children ride their bikes and rollerblade on the same street and where thousands of gallons of crude oil just rolled through there just days ago. He said he's very concerned about the long-term health effects.

    The health department said that they are not giving an exact timeline of when residents will be able to go back because they are testing the air quality levels, and until those levels are normal, residents will not be allowed to go home.

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