Residents React To Oil Spill in Lawrence County, Ky.

LOUISA, Ky. (WSAZ) -- Any time you hear about a chemical spill into water, it’s an immediate concern.

An unknown amount of oil spilled into the East Fork of the Little Sandy River Wednesday from an oil rig on Route 3 in Lawrence County, Kentucky, and traveled about 3 miles downstream.

NYTIS Exploration owns the rig that is on Long Branch Road. A representative from the company was on scene Friday, but said there was no official comment at the time.

Lawrence County Emergency Management said the spill has been contained, but cleanup will be an ongoing process during the next few days. They have handed the investigation over to Kentucky State Environmental Response Team, who said information on the spill will soon be released.

In the meantime, residents near the rig remain concerned.

Lacy Runion lives across the street from the rig and said that it all began Wednesday night, when she smelled gas in the air, and knew something was wrong.

“I swear we were all gasping for breath,” Runyon said. “If it hadn't started raining before 9:30, I was going to leave here.”

She says she could hear something spewing from the rig, that put the whole community in danger.

“I smell oil right now down here at the creek, but that was gas the night before last, and we all could have been dead,” Runion said.

Lincus Lemaster lives next door to Runion and says the company has been a problem since it opened up. This time, though, it’s affecting his family a little closer to home.

“The gas, I mean, I figured if I went in my home, it'd be different,” Lemaster said. “It smelled just as bad in my home as it did outside.”

Lemaster said he’s also concerned about the water because his son fishes in it.

“He caught a couple minnows out of the creek, and I stuck my hand down in to catch one of them,” Lemaster said. “I could feel the oil texture on my hands out of the water.”

Runion said something has to be done before something like this happens again.

“Well I hope to God they don't let any more gas loose,” Runyon said. “I can stand the smell of the oil, but I cannot stand that gas. It would kill us all. My nose was burning; my throat was burning.”

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