A sign posted in front of an otherwise typical-looking suburban neighborhood in Carson warns visitors: "got benzine? got methane? WE DO - Under our homes!"
Another sign says "Welcome to Carousel" in drippy, black-and-red writing alongside a skull and crossbones mimicking the Shell Oil Company logo. It's a neighborhood that the city of Carson might declare a local emergency.
Residents can't eat fruit or vegetables they grow in their back yards, and they're forbidden from touching their own soil for risk of being poisoned. People and pets are developing cancerous tumors, residents said.
They discovered in 2008 that their housing tract along Panama Avenue was contaminated with petroleum and benzine from a former Shell Oil tank farm. Since then, residents were warned that their citrus trees bear toxic fruit.
"We've had several people die of cancer," said resident Barbara Post. "The pets are all developing tumors. But what Shell doesn't realize: They're playing with the wrong neighborhood. We're not going to give up. We're not going to lose this thing."
Shell wants to replace the soil, but Post and other residents want to be bought out and moved away from their contaminated neighborhood.
"Get us out of here," Post said. "Make us whole again."
Carson city officials were expected to vote Monday on the local emergency resolution.