Five homes on Del Amo Boulevard sit vacant and eerily quiet, the homeowners paid off by ExxonMobil, considered the most likely source of contaminated soil discovered in December. Soil in the neighborhood beneath some homes adjacent to the Torrance Refinery is fouled with vapors of benzene, methane and other byproducts of gasoline production.
The owners of another five homes will soon finalize negotiations, sell to ExxonMobil and leave the neighborhood in the 2100 block of Del Amo Boulevard.
Another 10 homeowners whose houses sit nearest those that were found to be contaminated have been offered price protection programs that would guarantee they receive market prices for their property if they choose to sell in the next five years.
But increasing numbers of other homeowners in the neighborhood have been left to fend for themselves, unable to sell their homes or to stop what they see as creeping blight caused by the vacant houses.