Realtor says she never knew oil was in Pegasus Pipeline

MAYFLOWER (KATV) - Along with questions of how long the oil spill cleanup effort will take and what caused it, residents and now realtors have begun asking what should they have known before the disaster last Friday?

One local realtor said she knew a pipeline ran underneath the North Woods subdivision but was never told it carried oil.

When Sandara Bridges with Real Estate One{}sold her first house there in 2002, she was told it was a natural gas pipeline. The info Channel 7 News obtained from ExxonMobil shows that the Pegasus Pipeline, at least since 2006, carried crude oil.

"I would have loved to of known that," said Bridges. "I'd like to know when that was switched over. I'd like to know what kind of product is going through the line, because I feel the responsibility to disclose that to potential buyers."

Exxon has reported that 19,000 barrels of oil and water have been recovered since last Friday. The cause of the spill remains under investigation.

Bridges' last sale in the 60-lot North Woods subdivision came about three hours before the Pegasus Pipeline burst.{}She said the new homeowner is staying optimistic even though the other 21 displaced families may not be.

In the North Woods subdivision, the housing market has essentially frozen as Bridges notes there's a slim chance any seller could get market value for the next couple months.

"This is just terribly stressful for the property owners out there," she adds.

Residents have filed 140 claims against Exxon as of Thursday afternoon. Some of the claims have come from the evacuated homeowners who have sought legal representation.

Anthony Johnson with the Johnson-Vines Law Firm has been busy making homeowners aware of their legal options.

"They'd be apt to accept some sort of offer from Exxon," said Johnson, "but, at the very least, talk to an attorney because there may be other damages they're not considering."

Johnson's firm is hosting a community meeting at the Hampton Inn in Maumelle Friday and Monday at 6 o'clock. The firm is partnering with Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton and{}says it has secured several clients and are planning litigation against Exxon through "strength in numbers."