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Fuel spilled at school bus garage

By KENT FISCHER

© St. Petersburg Times,
published August 8, 2001


PORT RICHEY -- An errant fuel delivery resulted in a 100-gallon gasoline spill at the Pasco County School District's school bus garage on Pine Hill Road early Tuesday morning.

The unleaded gas was supposed to go to a city facility near the bus garage. The driver of the tanker truck, however, went to the district's bus garage and began pumping the fuel into a holding tank that was nearly full already, said Mike Park the district's director of transportation. After a few minutes, fuel began spewing from the overflowing tank. About 100 gallons pooled on the pavement and ran into a catch basin below the tank.

Park said fumes from the spill were sucked into the tanker truck's engine, which had been left running. Black smoke began pouring from the engine compartment before the driver raced to shut down the rig, Park said.

Fifteen employees working at the garage were evacuated at about 7:15 a.m., and Florida Power cut electricity to the area, affecting three homes, said Charles Tear, a coordinator for the county's Office of Emergency Management. Crews from four fire departments responded to Park's call to 911.

Crews had the spill contained and cleaned up by about 1 p.m. One firefighter suffering from heat exhaustion was taken to the hospital.

Park said the district likely will have to tear up the pavement around the tank and remove any soil contaminated by the spill.

- Kent Fischer covers education in Pasco County. He can be reached in west Pasco at 869-6241 or toll free at (800) 333-7505, ext. 6241.

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