Potato Plugs Bucket Loader Fuel Spill

Bucket loader's fuel tank spilled 25-30 gallons of fuel but an alert operator and a vegetable saved the day

A bucket loader truck clearing storm debris on the East Side suffered a rip in its fuel tank, spilling gallons upon gallons of fuel Friday morning. What saved the day was an alert operator and a hot potato – literally.

According to Cpt. Robert Kozielski, at about 8:30 a.m. a village bucket loader's fuel line ripped off the tank on Laurel Road near South Van Dien Ave. He reported 25-30 gallons of fuel spilled out of the torn tank but a village worker wisely parked the vehicle on a large pile of leaves, absorbing the fuel that otherwise would have seeped into the storm drain.

Responders then used an unorthodoxed method to fixing the problem.

"We used a potato on the nipple of the fuel tank as a plug," Kozielski smiled. The potato came from a neighboring homeowner who graciously donated it and as a result, responders reported containing the spill.

The county HazMat unit was alerted and was en route to the scene. They'll determine what to do with the dislodged fuel, Kozielski said. A DEP spill number was registered due to the quantity of fuel leaked.

Head of Streets and Fleets departments, John Spano told Patch at the scene it was unclear if the vehicle would be operational, but said there is a backup bucket loader ready to roll.

In a separate incident, about an hour later, a small gas leak was reported at the apartments on Oak St.

Cpt. Steven Maffei said the leak has not yet been located but "it barely registers in the meter." An off-duty fire department officer was doing a detail at the apartments when he smelled a gas leak.

PSE&G will investigate the issue, he said.

AMAMOM November 18, 2011 at 04:40 PM
James, I believe it's Steven Maffei, not Maffati
James Kleimann November 18, 2011 at 05:25 PM
Apologies, that's been corrected.
Douglas Cronk November 21, 2011 at 08:36 PM
I shouldn't be impressed, but I yam. I think I saw this happen on an episode of Chips. What au gratin thing to do! That was way back on Friday morning? Man, time fries. OK. I'm done here.


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