MILFORD, Texas — Barking dogs and waving flags made up some of the only sound and movement Friday in Milford.
The southern Ellis County town of 800 is deserted.
"It looks like a ghost town," said Carrie Pruitt, one of the evacuated residents. "I know it’s a small town, but it really looks like a ghost town."
Residents rode school buses from the Red Cross shelter in Italy back to their homes several miles away.
“It’s frustrating, but it’s one of those things that happens,” said Michael Loyd, an evacuee.
Like everyone else, Loyd had exactly 10 minutes to return home. He fed his pets as his wife, Carol, collected two trash bags of necessities.
“[She got] clothes, some medications and that’s really the main thing," Loyd said. "She got some Cokes, but that’s about it."
One of the first responders shared two snapshots of the scene Thursday morning before the flames grew into the sky. The images show a large fire on the surface of the ground and several pickup trucks engulfed in flames.
Standing along Highway 77 in Milford, the soft sound of blowing leaves was loud amongst the silence. It's quiet. Law enforcement and Chevron’s contractors were the only people around town. It will likely remain that way, at least until the weekend when it's safe for residents to return.
"I don’t see that people should plan on returning to their homes tonight," said Jim Barnum, Chevron.
For the second day in a row, Chevron has apologized for the incident and pledged to get people back in their homes as soon as it’s safe.
“We thought we could sympathize with the people in West, but until it really hits home and hits you, you realize you have no idea," Ms. Pruitt said. "You can’t even imagine."
Finding patience is the frustrating part as Milford’s 800 residents await permission to go home.
Chevron is waiting for the fire in the 10-inch liquefied petroleum gas pipeline to burn itself out, Barnum said.
Engineers will then flush out a four-mile stretch of the pipeline with nitrogen and burn off whatever remains with a flare stack.
Only then will engineers begin making repairs and pinpoint what went wrong.