ANDOVER — A fire truck leaked 40 gallons of diesel after the strap holding the fuel tank snapped around 4:30 p.m. today.
The tank dropped to the ground and was dragged underneath Engine 2 for several miles before a motorist behind the truck called 911 to report the leaking fuel.
The truck then stopped on Central Street near the intersection with Phillips Street where a large puddle of fuel formed but was contained by Speedy-Dry, a material similar to cat litter and which soaks up contaminants.
Fire Chief Mike Mansfield said environmental agencies were informed of the spill because some of the fuel leaked into some soil adjacent to the truck on Central Street.
The liquid fuel was being vacuumed up by Coady's Towing, which also had large wreckers on the scene to take the truck away.
Mansfield said that Engine 2 crew was coming to the central station on North Main Street and "didn't know the tank was leaking" as they drove.
He said that when the strap gave way, the tank dragged along the road, spilling fuel as it went. A streak of diesel fuel could be seen from Dascomb Road to Andover Street and onto Central Street all the way to where the truck stopped.
Mansfield said the department has a rigorous maintenance program and that the tank on another truck had just recently been replaced. He said Engine 2 had even been through maintenance recently but the problem with the fuel tank strap was not evident when the work was done.
"It's something that happens," he said. "We have a great preventive maintenance program, but sometimes it's difficult to detect the condition of the straps. There was no indication of wear or corrosion."
The fuel did not appear to leak into any storm drains, although the trail of the fuel spill did travel several miles, including over wetlands and other sensitive areas. There was no indication the fuel leaked off the road, however.