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4,000 gallons of gas spilled in Fairfax

A full gasoline tanker overturned in Fairfax City Saturday afternoon, and fire officials estimate about 4,000 gallons were spilled along Little River Turnpike, some of which entered storm drains and a nearby creek, city and county fire officials said.

Fairfax County fire spokesman Dan Schmidt said most of the spilled gas had been recovered, because hazardous materials crews quickly set up booms and dikes to stop it from spreading.

The incident began about 12:30 p.m. at the intersection of Pickett Road and Little River Turnpike, where Fairfax City and Fairfax County meet. Fairfax City Assistant Fire Chief Tim Butters said a truck from Baltimore Tank Lines had left the tank farm on Pickett Road, turned left onto Little River Turnpike and overturned in the east bound lanes. Traffic was jammed there for the next five hours.

The truck held about 8,200 gallons of gas, Butters said, in four different tanks. But the baffles between the tanks failed, and gas spewed from a gash on top of the tanker, Butters said.

Another tanker was brought in to capture what remained in the truck, which Butters said was about 4,000 gallons. But another 4,000 gallons flowed east into Fairfax County, and could be seen and smelled as far away as the Mantua neighborhood, about a mile-and-a-half away, Butters said.

Schmidt said much of the gas was captured, but some made it into storm drains and some flowed into a stream called Crook Branch. He said about 3,500 gallons had been recovered. A private environmental company was continuing to handle remediation, and the state Department of Environmental Quality was remaining on the scene to assess environmental impact.

-- Tom Jackman

By Tom Jackman  |  August 31, 2010; 2:45 PM ET
Categories:  Fairfax , Tom Jackman , Traffic Accidents  
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