Local News

Fuel tank falls and spills oil under home

Approximately 150 gallons of heating oil spilled under a house in Petersburg after the tank stand fell over yesterday. The spill happened at about 11 a.m. two miles “out the road” at 124 King’s Row.

Volunteer fire fighters responded after the owner of the home called 911.

“She had heard a crash outside the house,” said Assistant Fire Chief, Dave Berg. “Turns out her oil tank foundation that it was set on had collapsed and it broke the valve off of the oil tank and it was spurting oil out onto the ground and flowing underneath her house.”

Berg says a fire officer was able to arrive on scene in just one minute. He stopped the spill by capping the opening on the tank with his hand. When other volunteers arrived they corked the hole and, along with the help of Petro Marine workers, placed absorbent material underneath the house.

The house is located near a creek so they also put material downstream of the home to prevent any drainage into the creek.

After the spill, there was about 35 gallons of heating fuel left in the 250 gallon tank. Responders don’t know exactly how much spilled but are guessing it was about 150 gallons.

The Alaska Department of Conservation will be monitoring the cleanup efforts. Cheyenne Sanchez, a program specialist with the D.E.C. says their first priority was the safety of the residents in the home because most of the fuel went under the house. Vapors from the spilled fuel could be hazardous to the residents’ health so Sanchez advised them to ventilate the home.

D.E. C. is also concerned about drainage into the nearby creek. Sanchez says spill cleanup near muskeg areas can be tricky because of the wet terrain. He has advised the home owners to dig a few intercept trenches downstream so that any remaining oil will collect there. He says a contractor will be doing the work. The cleanup efforts will probably take weeks but could take months.

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