An Exxon-Mobil oil pipeline ruptured Friday afternoon in the town of Mayflower, Arkansas, forcing the evacuation of 20 homes and shutting down sections of interstate highway. According to Little Rock’s KATV, a hazardous materials team from the Office of Emergency Management has contained the spill and is currently attempting a cleanup.
The burst pipe is part of the Pegasus pipeline network, which connects tar sands along the Gulf coast to refineries in Houston. Thousands of gallons of crude oil erupted from the breach around 3:00 p.m. on Friday, spilling through a housing subdivision and into the town’s storm drainage system, fouling drainage ditches and shutting down Highway 365 and Interstate 40.
Residents were evacuated to avoid health hazards from crude oil fumes and to keep stray sparks from igniting the standing oil. Emergency workers contained the spill by hastily constructing earthen dams.