Residents of Seal Cove in Conception Bay South woke up to a nasty surprise recently when their homes were covered in a blanket of soot.

A problem at the Holyrood Generating Station sent clouds of the gritty, oily substance raining down on many houses in the area on the night of Nov. 17.

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Seal Cove resident Sheldon Jones. (CBC)

Local resident Sheldon Jones said it all started with a bang.

"We heard a loud blast from the hydro plant, which we're quite familiar with. We just never thought no more of it until Sunday morning when I got up and everything [was] buried in a soot and a rust," he said.

"Our vehicles, our windshields are all burnt. New windows I just had put on my house. Even the lawns, you can't even let a pet out," said Jones.

The Holyrood station burns heavy, Bunker C type fuel to produce energy, making it one of the dirtiest in the country.

While soot used to fall often in the area, improvements to the facility largely fixed the problem, until this latest ordeal.

A spokesperson for Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro said a malfunctioning burner likely caused the problem.

Waiting for Muskrat Falls

Holyrood Mayor Gary Goobie said residents shouldn't be alarmed, but he said he knows they're sick of having the plant in their backyard.  "We've tolerated that facility for the past 60 years," he said.

"We're saying now to Nalcor and the provincial government, the time has come when we want to see this plant decommissioned and move on with a more environmentally friendly way of producing energy," said Goobie.

Jones said he couldn't agree more. "Muskrat Falls can't come soon enough for me," he said.

Unanswered questions

Jones said Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro sent an insurance adjuster to the area.

While the company also told him they would send someone to assess the environmental impact of the soot, that still hadn't happened as of Nov. 24, a week after the ordeal.

"Is this something they're trying to avoid? Is it safe to be here? I don't really know," Jones said.