BRYAN, Tex. (KBTX) – A gas smell inside a Bryan home is now gone but the homeowner doesn’t know if she’ll ever be able to move back.
The mystery first started in the fall of 2018 and then an evacuation on Dec. 19 that year.
Last week we told you about a $1 million lawsuit filed against a nearby energy company. This week the homeowner’s attorney met us for an update at the home and gave us a tour inside the house.
A dream home has turned into a nightmare situation on Austin’s Estates Drive.
81-year-old Lenice Morgan hasn’t been able to live here since she evacuated in December 2018 when flammable gas started coming in.
“We’ve been able to rule out there are no natural gas lines coming to the house. There are no consumer lines coming to the house. None of the appliances run on natural gas and they never have. There are no septic tanks,” said Jeremy Allen, who is Morgan’s attorney.
“There are no abandoned wells. We’ve been able to pretty much rule out every other possible source of natural gas other than the oil and gas production on the nearby property,” Allen said.
Last week, Allen filed a lawsuit against Hawkwood Energy Operating seeking more than $1 million in damages.
They believe an an eight-inch gas line leaked, filling the ground underneath the home. Allen said the gas remained even after that line was shut-in. Now, they have monitoring wells around the property.
“We can’t say with any reasonable degree of certainty at the moment, how long that gas is going to be down there…There’s no noticeable odor inside the home…It’s been several months since samples have actually been drawn. The last time samples were drawn in the house we did get trace, trace elements but nothing that would be noticeable by smell,” said Allen, who is also a grandson of the homeowner.
He took KBTX inside the home which hasn’t had electricity for more than a year.
“You’re starting to see the presence of mold in the house, there’s some settling in the walls and the floor that results from no irrigation. You can’t run the sprinkler system and so the soil around the house gets dry the vegetation is suffering,” said Allen.
Davis Watson, an attorney for the Hawkwood Energy, said they plan to respond to the suit within 20 days and continue to be responsive to the homeowner. Watson added there will be lots of scientific evidence for the case and experts that will work on studying it.
Allen is ready for their day in court.
“Just not knowing what her future holds, you know she worked her entire life with her late husband to be able to buy this house and being forced out if it has had quite an impact on her,” said Allen.
“We don’t want to file a lawsuit. That’s kind of a last resort but we felt it was necessary at this point because we’re just not able to resolve it otherwise up to this point. You know we’ve spent a lot of time and money out here investigating,” said Allen.
An initial sample taken by the Conroe Fire Department found refined hydrocarbons in the gas. Things you would see in products like gasoline.
But the homeowner’s attorney said their results haven’t exactly matched and point to natural gas as the substance.
A trial date isn’t expected anytime soon.