Work underway to fix gas leak in Arvin

ARVIN, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) Work is underway to extract gas vapors that may have seeped into the soil underneath eight homes on Nelson Court in Arvin.

"It's absolutely not safe to be in those homes," said Kern County 5th District Supervisor Leticia Perez.

The leak was discovered on Monday after neighbors complained of a strong smell of gas in the area.

Kern County Environmental Health took readings and found that several homes in the area had unacceptably high levels of gas inside. The leak was determined to be coming from an underground pipeline that runs along Varsity Avenue belonging to Petro Capital Resources of Bakersfield.

On Friday, crews from Advanced GeoEnvironmental Inc. installed "vapor wells" and ventilation equipment under the eight homes.

"So we've got to remove all of the gas from the soil, underneath the home and continue to test it until we get down to 0 percent," said Perez.

Eight homes were forced to evacuate, and the families remain locked out. Some are staying with other family members, and others are staying at a motel in Bakersfield.

Petro Capital Resources is paying for the food and lodging of families staying at the motel.

"It's been stressful," said Alba Marroquin.

She, her husband along with her disabled son and her 85-year-old mother-in-law are staying in one room while three other family members are staying in another room at the motel.

Marroquin said the temporary relocation has made it tough on her elderly mother-in-law, as well as daily commuting to Arvin to take her disabled son to school.

According to the Kern County Fire Department, the broken pipeline has since been shut down while work continues through the weekend. But, it remains unknown as to when it will be considered safe for families to return to their homes.