Fountain Hills gas spill update: Local family forced to put big plans on hold

FOUNTAIN HILLS, AZ - A massive fuel spill is causing an environmental nightmare in one Fountain Hills neighborhood.

It happened nearly two weeks ago and crews are still working to clean it up. 

But, after all of the rain we got last week, officials say the gas soaked pretty deep into the ground. 

So, clean-up is going to take a while and unfortunately, that's going to put some big plans on hold for one Valley family.

"And I planted all of these here," says Tom Oke with pride as he shows off his landscaping. He's lived in his home for 16 years. But, these days, he doesn't get to enjoy the view or the fresh air.

"It was as if you stuck your head into a gas tank," he explains.

It's easy to see why.

"They got it all boarded off," he says as he points to orange fencing and yellow caution tape.

On November 17, more than 2,000 gallons of gas spilled close to his home near Shea Boulevard and the Beeline Highway.

"I was afraid to BBQ because that's an open flame. I don't want to blow everybody up over there. It was kinda scary," he says.

It's scary for Tom because when crews put up a dam to keep gas from flowing down Saguaro Boulevard, it ended up in a culvert instead.

"And that's right by my house and it was coming out and dumping into the dirt and it made a big puddle," Tom explains.

Fountain Hills officials say they've tested for contamination and the results confirmed about two football fields worth of soil and a quarter mile of the road came back positive for fuel. So, crews are busy digging it up and putting it inside dozens of dumpsters which line Saguaro Boulevard.

From Tom's back porch, it's not the prettiest view, which means plans to move closer to his wife's family aren't happening.

"It just doesn't gel very good to sell property right next to a gas dump," he jokes.

But, joking aside, Tom's biggest worry is that crews are using heavy machinery right outside his home, and a single mistake could spark disaster.

"I'm going to put my trust in them and have faith in God that we're not going to get blown up."

Officials expect more test results to come back next week. We're told they're waiting for those before deciding exactly how to proceed from here.

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