Town fire marshals respond to hazardous materials incident

Four hour-long cleanup took place in Sunday snowstorm


Eastport Fire Department and Brookhaven Town Fire Marshals responded to a report of an overturned oil truck on Sunday, Feb. 7, amid the snowstorm.

Fire units responded to the incident on Sunrise Highway between Eastport-Manor Road and Moriches-Riverhead Road. Upon arrival, Eastport chief of department John Rankin found a fuel oil delivery truck had overturned in the median between eastbound Sunrise Highway and the Service Road, according to a press release.

Rankin determined the tank was actively leaking from two locations and requested Brookhaven Town Fire Marshals Hazardous Material Response Team respond to the scene, a press release said. Firefighters from the worked to control the leaks utilizing equipment on hand.

The response team determined that 3,800 gallons of home heating oil that still remained in the tank would need to be off-loaded prior to the truck being up-righted and removed.

As fire marshals on scene drilled openings into the side of the tank, specialized pumps were inserted into it, which allowed oil to be safely transferred from the damaged tank to a nearby waiting tanker truck.

Chief fire marshal Christopher Mehrman said the operation took approximately four hours to complete due to weather conditions.

“The incident occurred in the middle of the snowstorm and freezing conditions made working on top of the tank extremely slippery,” Mehrman said. “We were able to limit the amount of fuel oil leaking from the tank, off load the remaining oil and address the leaks that had been greatly slowed by the initial actions of the Eastport Fire Department.”

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation was on scene to ensure the contaminated soil was cleaned up by an environmental firm hired by the fuel oil delivery company.

The driver of the truck was treated and transported to a local hospital with nonlife-threatening injuries by East Moriches Volunteer Ambulance Corp.

The Brookhaven Town Fire Marshals Hazardous Material Response Team provides emergency response and technical assists to the 38 volunteer fire departments within the Town of Brookhaven. The Team is recognized by New York State as a Type II Hazardous Materials Response Team. In addition to their other duties, all Town Fire Marshals are New York State Certified Hazardous Materials Technicians and receive extensive annual training.


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