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Diesel Fuel Spills Onto I-84’s Rochambeau Bridge

Published: August 10, 2018

Sandy Hook Volunteer Fire & Rescue Company firefighters responded at 3:51 pm on Thursday, August 9, to a

spill of about 100 gallons diesel fuel from a tractor-trailer truck that had been traveling on eastbound Interstate 84. The truck stopped on the Rochambeau Bridge, which spans the Lake Zoar section of the Housatonic River.

The incident caused lengthy traffic backups on eastbound I-84 during the evening rush, as motorists slowed while approaching the fuel spill on the bridge. State police responded to control traffic and the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) responded to supervise the fuel spill cleanup.

Fortunately, the bridge, which is marked for two travel lanes of traffic, is much wider than those two lanes, so the truck driver was able to pull his vehicle onto the broad left road shoulder on the span, allowing two lanes of slow-moving traffic to pass by.

Sandy Hook Fire Chief Bill Halstead said that a tire on the tractor-trailer truck blew out, with debris from that blowout striking a fuel pump, which regulates the flow of fuel between the external diesel fuel tanks on the truck’s cab. The equipment damage caused the diesel fuel to leak from the truck while it was moving, the fire chief said. The unidentified trucker shut off the fuel pump system after realizing what had occurred, the chief added.

The eight firefighters who went to the incident isolated the fuel that had leaked onto the pavement, placing absorbent powder and pads onto the spilled fuel, Chief Halstead said. Those actions prevented the fuel from entering a stormwater drainage catch basin, he said.

Any fuel that would enter such a drain would eventually find its way into the river below the bridge. During such spill incidents there is premium on preventing spilled fuel from entering catch basins because all such stormwater catch basins eventually drain into watercourses.

Information on the spill was not immediately available from DEEP. A state Department of Motor Vehicles inspector and a state Department of Transportation crew also responded to the scene. There were no injuries in the incident.

Chief Halstead that all the diesel fuel that spilled from the moving truck apparently drained out of the fuel tank while the vehicle was on the bridge. He estimated the spill’s length as about 125 feet and its width as about two feet.

State Police spokesman Trooper Josue Dorelus said that no enforcement action was taken against the trucker.

The cab on the tractor-trailer truck lists the cab’s owner as JSM Transportation, Inc, of Birmingham. Alabama. The truck was carrying unspecified cargo to Massachusetts when the incident occurred, Chief Halstead said.

 

AG_(FULL FRAME)_Diesel Fuel Spill on Rochambeau Bridge_(color)_firefighters, trucker

Sandy Hook Volunteer firefighters, from left, Leslie Richards, Andy DeWolfe and Karin Halstead stand with the driver of a tractor-trailer truck at the scene of a diesel fuel spill truck which occurred on eastbound Interstate 84 at the Rochambeau Bridge just as the evening rush was starting on Thursday, August 9.
—Bee Photos, Gorosko

 

AG_(FULL FRAME) Diesel Fuel Spill on Rochambeau Bridge -- traffic backup
Eastbound traffic on Interstate 84 backed up near the scene of a diesel fuel spill on Rochambeau Bridge late on the afternoon of Thursday, August 9. The incident caused lengthy travel delays during the evening rush.

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