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Telephone Workers Strike Oil In Carson Neighborhood

Residents Worry That Their Health Is Being Compromised
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StaceyButler1 Stacey Butler
Emmy-award winning journalist, Stacey Butler, joined the CBS2 News...
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CARSON (CBSLA.com) — AT&T utility workers came in contact with huge pools of oil Wednesday while doing routine work at 311 244th Street in Carson.

Officials say digging in the area is extremely dangerous as the neighborhood was built on top of a former Shell Oil tank farm. In fact, the region is now part of a lawsuit.

Back in February, nearly 300 residents signed a petition to combat what they call a growing public health threat due to strange illnesses they are convinced come from living atop the oil.

CBS2’s Stacey Butler spoke to a geologist who said an already problematic situation is becoming more volatile by the day because of the more than 3.5 million gallons of oil that reportedly sit under the neighborhood.

Alan Sayer Smith thought the phone company was making a routine call near his house Wednesday. Instead, he says what he saw what looks like the La Brea Tar Pits.

Barbara Post also told Butler she woke up to a huge pool of oil outside her front door.

“I was speechless. I could not believe what I was seeing,” Post said. “I just looked at that and thought, ‘What more proof do they need?'”

Kathy Post said she is not surprised by the oil or the health problems the tanks have left behind. She said after moving in 15 years ago, her health has steadily declined. She also said many pets in the area have contracted cancer.

“We want out. We just want out,” she said.

Vincent Arrendondo, 12, agrees.

“I’m tired of being a guinea pig. I just want to get out of here. I want to be in a safer place. Cause I bet all these people are thinking the same thing. We’re probably all going to end up with cancer.”

Shell tells Butler they are complying with orders to test air and soil samples. Due to the expanse of land, the company concedes those tests can take years or decades.

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