McLouth fuel spill forces evacuations - KCTV5

McLouth fuel spill forces evacuations

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Several people were forced out of their homes overnight following a fuel spill, and it could take days to clean up.

McLouth fire and hazmat crews spent hours Saturday morning cleaning up after diesel fuel spilled into a neighborhood.

"It ended up pooling in our backyard. They asked us to leave because of the situation," said Amber Lentz, a member of one of the families evacuated.

Lentz said living behind and downhill from the BP gas station in McLouth has never been a problem before Friday night.

"It was really bad, the smell was. Sometimes with BP you can smell the gas anyways. We didn't think anything about it until they showed up last night," she said.

Lentz didn't take any chances as an estimated 1,500 gallons of diesel fuel ran from the BP into her backyard.

"Just to get my daughter and dogs out safely. I never feared for our safety," she said. "The officers weren't rushing or making a huge deal, just asked us to leave for a precaution."

"The storage tank. They were filling it up and, as far as we know, they over-filled the tank and the relief valve popped," Jefferson County Emergency Manager Daryl Chess said.

Chess said the spill is under investigation. KCTV5 called Haag Oil Company, which owns the station, but they wouldn't answer questions about how the spill happened.

"If it was dry it would soak into the ground. But with the moisture we've had, it actually stayed on the surface and helped with the cleanup," Chess said.

He said the spill shouldn't have lasting environmental impact.

"They'll be here continuously for the next four or five days. Then the state makes a determination if any soil needs to be removed.

Neighbor Angela Cloid hopes they're right.

"They explained they did catch it to our east side. I have young children. I was concerned about that, but they told us their procedures and how it's going to be cleaned up. They were right on about everything, working here through the night," Cloid said.

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