Evacuees of Seminole Oil Well Blowout Speak Out

Evacuees of Seminole Oil Well Blowout Speak Out

GAINES COUNTY, TX (KWES) - It's been two days since nearly 500 people were evacuated from their homes after an oil well blowout near Seminole. Now, evacuees are speaking out.

The oil well blowout caused a leak of hydrogen sulfide, a very dangerous and deadly gas. On Thursday, NewsWest 9 talked with one resident. Her family of nine was evacuated. She said it all went down while her children were at home without her.

"The firemen saw him and they drove in there right away and they said you need to leave right now. It was frightening for them, for my (young) daughter, she was pretty scared, she was crying," said Elvira Villarreal.

They had to evacuate from their home quickly, leaving their belongings behind. She says she's happy with how the evacuation was handled.

"They're being really careful and I appreciate that. They are being careful with like the people that live on this side of the highway. They were in a lot more danger than we were. They have to be escorted in and escorted out and I appreciate that," said Villarreal.

The deadly hydrogen sulfide is still in the area, so they still have not been able to return home, but she said she's thankful for how crews are tending to the gas leak.

"We haven't had any loss of life and I'm grateful for that. I don't want anybody rushing in there trying to get that well done so fast that somebody could lose their life," said Villarreal.

The past two days have been stressful for her big family of nine but she spoke about all the support they have received.

"The best part about this is that our schools have wonderful counselors. They're a wonderful community. Churches, stores, restaurants, it's a wonderful community to live in. If you need something and say I need something, somebody will reach out to you," said Villarreal.

At a press conference held by the oil company Wednesday, those evacuated were told it could be more than a week before they can return to their homes. There is a Red Cross shelter set up in Seminole at 601 SW Ave B. That's where evacuees can get food, water, clothing and a place to sleep.