October 3, 2005

Response agencies move quickly to contain fuel spill in Abbotsford residential area

ABBOTSFORD, BC-Prompt response action by various public service agencies has been credited with averting a potentially volatile situation following an early morning spill in a residential area of Abbotsford. Just before 6:00 a.m. on September 28th, a tanker truck containing gas and diesel flipped, spilling 22,500 litres of fuel. A precautionary evacuation of the immediate residential area began at 6:30 a.m. and numerous public agencies and community organizations quickly mobilized to contain the incident and protect public safety and the environment. Approximately 400 homes, some 2,000 residents and dozens of busineesses were affected by the evacuation. As a further precaution, natural gas services to the area were cut off. The fuel entered the storm drainage system and although catchbasins in the immediate vicinity were affected, at no point was Abbotsford's drinking water supply threatened by the fuel spill. The quick decision to lay down foam at the incident area and establish dams and booms on the Marshall/Lonzo Creek system, contained the environmental damage of the spill. Flushing of the storm drain system continued throughout the night and the following morning. Evacuated residents were allowed to begin returning home around 5:00 p.m. the same day and all were home by 8:15. Terasen Gas went door to door to re-establish gas services for each of the affected homes. The agencies involved with the emergency response included the city of Abbotsford, the BC Ministry of Environment, Central Fraser Valley Search and Rescue, Emergency Social Services, Terasen Gas, BC Hydro, RCMP, BC Ambulance, Fraser Health Authority, Transport Canada, and McCreas Environmental Services. A review of the incident is now under way.

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