Crews tore down a pair of houses near the site of the oil spill in Mayflower Monday, spending about an hour demolishing each structure so oil trapped beneath the foundations can be cleaned up.
A single backhoe first made quick work of 32 N. Starlite Road, starting at the back of the single-story brick home and working its way to the front. After a short break, an identical process reduced 36 N. Starlite Road to a similar pile of debris.
Exxon Mobil bought both houses after the March 29 oil spill, which sent an estimated 210,000 gallons of oil from the nearby Pegasus Pipeline and onto both properties.
Exxon Mobil spokesman Aaron Stryk said the company decided to tear down both structures because some oil remained trapped underneath them. Negotiations are ongoing with a third home in the subdivision with oil under it, but it's not clear whether it will ultimately be torn down or whether the oil will be removed another way, Stryk said.
The backhoe methodically worked its way around each structure, pushing and pulling the frames in and creating large piles of mangled wood, bricks, insulation and other building materials. Representatives from Exxon Mobil, the Arkansas Department of Health and the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality were among the small crowd of onlookers.