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Strange smell lingers after large fire at drilling fluids facility, residents say

Flames erupted at Newpark Drilling Fluids last Sunday

KENEDY, Texas – Residents of a small South Texas town say that a strange smell still lingers after a massive fire at a drilling fluids facility.

Several agencies were called to Kenedy to assist authorities in their response to flames and large billows of black smoke at the Newpark Drilling Fluids facility last Sunday.

Kenedy police said that they evacuated businesses and apartments that were nearby.

Bobby Rose lives near the site of the fire. Rose's yard is littered with singed debris that blew in during the fire.

"We had a black cloud right on top of us," Rose said of the massive fire.

People who were evacuated began returning to their homes after a week, but they are skeptical of the cleanliness of the air given the stench that is emanating from the site of the fire.

"I'd like to know for sure that we're breathing clean air right now," Rose said. "I've spoken with other people and it's not just me."

The Kenedy Police Department posted an update to Facebook on Saturday stating that the lab results show the air is safe to breathe and that most of the trailers have been tested for hazardous chemicals, but they are awaiting an official statement from Newpark.

"They did clean our RV. They did measure the air down here, but it's just hard for me to believe, this facility over here was full of chemicals -- drilling fluids, dangerous stuff," Rose said. "As I'm sitting here right now, I can still smell the facility. I can still smell the burning. The chemical smell that we smelled the first day that it happened out here."

Rose said he feels that getting reliable information has been difficult.

"Seems like you can ask five different people the same question and get five different answers," he said.

Another woman who lives in the area said the burning smell made her nauseous and that she had to take one of her children to the hospital after they suffered an asthma attack.

Rose said that despite having witnessed air testing, he wants an independent party to test the air quality.

Country Village apartment residents !! If you live in units 2,3,4 and 5 you are allowed to return back as of this...

Posted by Kenedy Police Department on Saturday, July 7, 2018

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