Local Residents React to Foul Smell After Oil Spill

by Victor Lopez
NewsWest 9

MIDLAND COUNTY--Their biggest concern, they never got any kind of warning from anyone.

"It smells like rotten eggs.  It's not the most pleasant smell in the world," Joshua Coffman, said.

Residents in the vecinity of the oil spill got a nose full Thursday night and into the early morning hours.

"When it got stronger, it was probably around 10 or 11.  We had a little, strong smell of some kind of gas," Arturo Pena, who lives just across the the road from several oil tanks, said.

Another resident, J.W. Barber has lived in the neighborhood about 6 years.  He said this smell wasn't like any other, "It just was a different smell. The rest of the smell was like natural gas.  This (Friday) morning, at 5:30, it was a differnent smell."

Pena worked in the oil field for 22 years.  He had an idea something wasn't quite right, "I didn't know what to do but sometimes it got a little stronger but I just kept quiet from my family.  Now and these days, with all that stuff about H2S and all that, you never know when it could fly around with a wind."

Coffman is a father of two and also works in the oil field, "My wife stated that it smelled like rotten eggs and I explained to her, from my experiences on the rig that it was H2S and  anybody that's been out in the oil field would know that it's H2S."

Coffman says they are trained to know what it smells like and how dangerous it can be, "We could be sleeping one night and something actually happen and it gets so strong that it actually becomes a hazard inside our house, we wouldn't even know it because we would be asleep."

Even though it was just oil and not H2S, both men agree, there should be someway to let people know when something like this happens.

"A warning system or something because it's dangerous, you know?  I worked in oil field and all of that stuff is dangerous," Pena said.

Coffman added, "I know what kind of precuations I need to take to keep me and my wife and my kids safe.  Everybody else, they need to get monitors because this ain't the first time and it sure isn't going to be the last."