"It was very neighborly and well-kept, with lots of kids and families," said Bernadette Patrick, a nurse who last year left her native Endicott for Syracuse. "Then all of a sudden it seemed like they put, I'd describe it as a skull and crossbones on all the doors. ... It was like a scene from a science fiction movie."
The contamination of Endicott and the cleanup effort by its main polluter, IBM Corp., have established the village as one of the largest known examples of vapor intrusion, a phenomenon in which volatile chemicals creep from far underground into the air of buildings above.