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1400 Gallons of Diesel Fuel = Very Long Clean-up

By JJohnson | May 5, 2010

A little after 4pm on 5/4/10, the LBFD was dispatched out to reports of an overturned tanker truck at Paramount Blvd. and the on-ramp to the Westbound 91 Frwy. First arriving units on scene noticed the tanker trailer was on it's side and leaking a fair amount of fuel. It was estimated later, at a rate of around 25 gallons a minute. Additional resources were called to the scene, including the Hazardous Materials Task Force as well as additional Engine companies for man-power.

No injuries to responders or civilians were reported. Approximately 500 gallons of diesel fuel entered the storm drain system. The diesel fuel in the storm drain was stopped at Artesia and the Rail Road tracks west of Paramount Blvd.

A total of 47 Firefighters responded to this incident, 38 from Long Beach and 9 from our Area “E” (Vernon and Santa Fe Springs Fire Departments) partners. Area “E” provided Hazardous Materials Response Teams. Other responders included, LBPD, CHP, CalTrans, Long Beach Public Works, California Fish and Game, Long Beach Health Department, Health 44 and Long Beach Search and Rescue.

Initial emergency operations focused on protecting life safety, contain the leaking fuel, control the leak and eliminate ignition sources. Water supply was established and a foam blanket was put down to control vapors. This foam blanket was maintained throughout the incident. Once the incident became stabilized, Hazardous Materials operations were initiated. This included air monitoring, environmental monitoring, and preparing for a “Stinger” operation. This operation is used to access the leaking product and place a recovery tube into the tank to off load the product prior to righting the rolled over tanker.

Hazardous Materials Specialists entered the “exclusion zone” and began procedures to off-load the diesel. This included stabilizing the rolled over tank, grounding and bonding the tank. After this was completed, the HazMat Specialists accessed the remaining fuel in the tank by drilling two, 4” holes in the aluminum skin of the rolled tank. A pump off truck was then placed in a position for the remaining product to be pumped into. A vacuum truck was also on scene to recover the spilled fuel and foam mixture.

A total of 2600 gallons of diesel fuel was recovered from the rolled over tank during the "Stinger" off-loading process. 1400 gallons of leaking diesel fuel and water/foam mixture was recovered from the containment area. 500 gallons of diesel fuel is estimated to have entered the storm drain. This estimate is on the “high” end.

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