Gas Company Damages Cemetery

By: Ashley Reynolds Email
By: Ashley Reynolds Email

A gas company destroys a Bell County Cemetery.

Crews were fixing to drill at a new site, and once they saw the headstones they immediately stopped ...but the damage was already done.

Company officials say they are sorry and want to do everything to make this situation right ... family members say you can't replace nearly 20 graves.

Delphia Gambrel used to come to this remote cemetery north of Pineville to honor her grandfather that passed away more than 50 years ago.
She would find his grave by spotting a pine tree ...she can no longer find the tree nor her grandfather's grave.

"It upsets you so much you can't hardly sleep... wondering where he is... it's really hard," said Gambrel.

Gambrel insists the cemetery was not neglected. However company officials say after going through routine procedures with the state, geologists, and surveyors, the cemetery was never spotted...until it was too late.

"We could not see the fence links... it was not how a cemetery is supposed to look like. So there was no indication of a cemetery," said Arnab De with Vinland Energy.

"What could we have done? I'm not sure what else we could have done. But as soon as we spotted it, we stopped. We are prepared to go and fix it the best way we can," said Mike Robinson, CEO of Vinland Energy.

Company leaders say they plan to repair the site as best they can by making an access road and moving their work several yards from the cemetery.

Family members say what's done is done and they are depending on their faith to get them through.

"You know that's just a body... and the soul has gone on... it still hurts... you don't know where he is. He is somewhere here but we don't know exactly where," said Gambrel.

Gambrel says she will probably never know where her grandfather rests.

Vinland Energy officials say they plan to start cleaning up the site on Tuesday.

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