7-Eleven fill-up leads to 911 situation | PostIndependent.com
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7-Eleven fill-up leads to 911 situation

CARBONDALE – The moral to this story is – don’t assume the automatic gas nozzle lever on your favorite gas pump always works properly.

An unidentified woman learned this lesson during Tuesday’s snowstorm at the Carbondale 7-Eleven, located at Highway 133 and Main Street.

According to Ben Cartwright of Environmentally Friendly Services, the woman was filling her vehicle with gas and either stepped back into her car to get out of the storm or went into the 7-Eleven while gassing up.



The pump lever malfunctioned, and unleaded gasoline started overflowing from the woman’s tank onto the ground. Fifteen to 20 gallons of fuel hit the pavement before the pump was shut off.

The Carbondale Fire Department quickly arrived on the scene, spraying foam over the convenience store parking area’s gas-soaked sections.



Fire chief Ron Leach said volunteer firefighters used the foam to prevent a fire at the site. Following that, Leach said firefighters washed the gasoline out of the area into a landscaped dirt area, making the scene safe.

Leach said firefighters put yellow crime scene tape around the contaminated area so clean-up workers would have easy access to the site.

“The tape has been up since Tuesday, but it’s not because the area isn’t safe,” he said.

Following the fire department’s work, 7-Eleven hired Environmentally Friendly Services, an Aspen-based company licensed for hazardous waste clean-up.

Ben Cartwright said EFS workers scattered ultra-fine sand over the gas-soaked areas to draw the remaining gas and moisture to the surface. Using backhoes from Waste Management, workers collected the contaminated soil and water for disposal.

Cartwright said Zeb Hamby of EFS performed one of the tougher jobs of the clean-up on Friday – entering a dry well in the store’s parking area where some of the gasoline had drained.

After workers shoveled a load of ultra-fine sand into the well to absorb the liquids, Hamby donned a white Tyvek suit, complete with a breathing apparatus, a hood and gloves, and descended about nine feet into the hole. He shoveled the gas-soaked sand into a five-gallon bucket that workers repeatedly pulled to the surface and emptied into Waste Management receptacles.

As of Friday afternoon, Leach and Cartwright expected the work to be completed by the end of the day.

Leach said 7-Eleven did an excellent job reacting to the gas spill, and he reminded motorists of the importance of staying nearby and attentive while filling up.

“It’s the gas customer’s responsibility to stay with your nozzle,” he said.

Contact Carrie Click: 945-8515, ext. 518

cclick@postindependent.com


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