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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Fuel Spills from Pedestrian Walkway on Railroad Bridge

An estimated four gallons of diesel fuel spilled into the Saugatuck River from a fuel drum with a loose cap on the pedestrian walkway on the Metro-North Railroad Bridge spanning the river, Westport fire officials said tonight.

Someone had moved the drum onto the walkway, and there had been a previous attempt to secure the cap with black electrical tape, said Assistant Fire Chief Gene Maloney.

Firefighters discovered the leak when they responded at 7:32 p.m. to a report of a fuel spill on the pedestrian walkway.

On arrival, they found an oily substance leading from the commuter parking lot on the west side of the river across the pedestrian walkway to a concrete platform adjacent to the bridge tender’s shack mid-way across the span, Maloney said.

The concrete around the drum as well as the drum itself were wet with spilled fuel, he said. And there was evidence of fuel runoff on to the bridge metal supporting structure, a metal staircase, catwalk, and into the river below.

Firefighters checked the quantity of fuel remaining in the drum and estimated less than four gallons of fuel was spilled, Maloney said.

Due to the rising tide at the time of the incident, fire personnel checked upstream of the bridge for evidence of spilled petroleum product but did not find any, he said.

Metro-North police, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection were notified of the incident, Maloney said.

A Connecticut DEP representative arrived on the scene to coordinate cleanup efforts and to review fuel transport and storage procedures with railroad personnel, the fire official said.

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Posted 02/28/07 at 03:05 AM  Permalink



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