Commonwealth Journal

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December 4, 2013

Hazmat crews clear fuel spill at Kroger South gas station


Somerset —

One of the main concerns was that the gasoline had infiltrated a nearby stream, but Robinson said they were able to halt the spread of the substance before that occurred. 
“We don’t think any liquid got into the streams,” said Robinson. “We couldn’t find any signs it entered a stream.” 
Robinson said Tuesday’s spill was one of the largest they’d had to deal with in Pulaski County in some time — and he said the situation could’ve been much worse. 
“The temperature really plays a part,” said Robinson. “It was not cold, but cooler ... the higher the temperature, the more dangerous.
“If it had been 80 degrees that day, it probably would’ve been a lot worse,” Robinson added. 
Robinson said the real danger lies not with the spread of the liquid, but with the highly-flammable vapors that gasoline emits. Gasoline can vaporize at temperatures above -45 degrees, and as temperature rises, the density of the vapor increases, making it more volatile. Vapors from gas can reach far beyond the actual physical site of the spill, which is why emergency workers on Tuesday opted to rope off a significant portion of the Kroger parking lot until the scene could be cleaned. 
“It’s not the fuel, it’s the vapor from the fuel that causes problems,” said Robinson. 
Robinson said they stayed on the scene of the spill until around 11 p.m. Tuesday. McGurk confirmed that, saying the store was opened to customers again at around 11:15 p.m. 
McGurk said Environmental Protection Agency officials returned to the site of the spill on Wednesday for a follow-up inspection.
“ ... We are pleased to report that no traces of fuel were discovered,” said McGurk. 
Pulaski County Public Safety Director Tiger Robinson, the Somerset-Pulaski County Special Response Team /Hazmat Area 12 team, and the State Fire Marshal were all called in to assist with the clean-up. The Somerset Police Department provided traffic control.  

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