EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

July 22, 2010

Tanker flips, spills 4,500 gallons of oil in Methuen

METHUEN — A truck driver apparently took a turn too fast and flipped his tanker truck onto its side spilling about 4,500 gallons of heating oil onto Route 28 near wetlands yesterday afternoon, officials said.

The incident sparked an environmental cleanup effort that lasted into the night and caused traffic problems.

Local and state police, firefighters, Department of Public Works employees, the state Department of Environmental Protection, the state Department of Transportation, and private contractors responded to the scene on Route 28, just south of the bridge that crosses Route 213.

DEP spokesman Edmund Coletta said about 4,500 gallons of No. 2 heating oil spilled. Police Capt. Thomas Fram said nobody was injured.

Police diverted traffic on Route 28, which is Broadway, onto side streets. Fuel streamed down the right lane of the northbound side of Route 28 for roughly 75 yards, as well as onto the grass next to the road and down Nevins Road.

The accident happened about 3 p.m. Police identified the driver as Louis Fejes, 31, of Georgetown. The tanker was a 2009 Mack.

"We believe he took the turn a little fast and flipped it," Fram said.

Fram said the truck, owned by the Lawrence-based gas station chain Haffner's, came off Route 213 and took a left onto Route 28 north.

Methuen police and the State Police truck team are investigating, and the driver may be cited, Fram said.

The truck fell onto its side on the sidewalk. Police were unable to give an estimate last night for how long the street will remain closed.

"Once we suck this up, the road is contaminated. They may have to dig this out. This may turn into a huge project," Fram said.

Crews recently finished paving the street in that area. Fuel will disintegrate the pavement, Fram said.

Department of Transportation spokesman Adam Hurtubise said the decision about whether to repave the street would be made after the accident is cleared and the oil is cleaned up.

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