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Atmos To Kaufman County Residents: 'We Could've Done A Better Job'

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CRANDALL (CBS11) - Dozens of Kaufman County homeowners met Thursday night to complain about a new neighbor... a natural gas line station that has caused noise and odor problems as well as an evacuation scare since last week.

The Vice President of Operations for Atmos Energy apologized to a group of more than 50 Crandall and Talty residents during a meeting at a local church.

"We could've done a better job," said Jeff Martinez of Atmos Energy.

Residents around a new valve station have endured the deafening roar of a natural gas release three times last week that also sent a foul odor into neighborhoods and created an evacuation scare.

Atmos insisted what happened was a controlled release, but admitted it hasn't had to be done at nearby stations in years.

Residents like Melissa Lusk wanted to know why the county's Emergency Management Office warned of a possible evacuation and issued orders not to start cars or use phones if there was no danger of an explosion.

They were told it was out of an abundance of caution.

"They didn't do anything to calm our fears and none of the Kaufman County officials even showed up," said Lusk.

A deadly explosion from a leaking propane line 20 years ago is still seared into the minds of some longtime residents.

But Atmos officials assured them it won't happen here.

"That that was a propane related event and natural gas is very different and propane," said Martinez.

The meeting ended with residents still without an assurance they will get notified if there's a another incident at the station.

Kaufman County's Emergency Management Director said it doesn't have the budget to go door to door or call everyone who could be affected.

(©2016 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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