By Shelley Grieshop
COLDWATER -- A flammable liquid leaked from a semitrailer at a local gas station Monday, putting local officials and residents on pins and needles for several hours.
The spill at Westown Partymart, the Shell station on the west end of the village of Coldwater, was contained by a hazardous materials cleanup crew from Dayton. The crew was assisted by Coldwater firefighters, police officers, Mercer County Sheriff's deputies and an official from the Mercer County Emergency Management Agency.
No injuries were reported.
Although the semi driver alerted his employer immediately, the cleanup crew failed to notify local officials about the flammable spill until nearly five hours later.
No residential evacuations were made, however, the gas station along state Route 219 was closed and its employees asked to clear the area. A nearby car wash also was temporarily closed. Traffic on the busy highway was maintained. Mike Robbins, deputy director of the Mercer County EMA, identified the chemical as "FG22723 C35OB R@H CUST," calling it a type of airplane glue, an adhesive that is extremely flammable. Approximately four to five gallons of the substance leaked from the trailer onto the pavement behind the Shell station.
"The truck was carrying about 200 gallons of the chemical," Robbins added.
The driver of the Holland semitrailer, Wesley Callison, reportedly of Urbana, stopped at the business about 1:30 p.m. Monday. Upon exiting the vehicle he noticed the smell of the chemical and realized it had somehow leaked from the trailer, said Coldwater Fire Chief Paul Streacker.
Callison reportedly notified the company's dispatcher who, in turn, contacted K&D Industrial Services of Dayton. The crew arrived about 3 p.m. to clean up the flammable liquid that had dripped onto gravel several yards from the gasoline pumps.
The local fire department wasn't paged until 6:18 p.m., and EMA was contacted about 10 minutes later, Robbins said.
"It bothered us a little bit," Robbins said of the time lapse before being notified. "But it wasn't like it was going to explode."
Robbins explained the chemical hardens after reaching air and was not as flammable after it dried onto the pavement.
Firefighters sprayed the trailer to cool it off before the cleanup crew could enter and contain the spill. Apparently, two 5-gallon buckets were somehow punctured en route, possibly as the load shifted at some time, officials speculated.
The entire load of 45 buckets had been shrink-wrapped and positioned on pallets inside the trailer before transport.
Crews unwrapped all of the containers, checking for any others that may have been leaking before resealing the punctured buckets. The residue from the leaked chemical and the gravel it dripped onto was hauled away under supervision of the hazardous materials cleanup crew, Robbins said.
EPA officials were notified, and although they did not come to the scene, made contact with K&D and were satisfied the cleanup was being handled properly, Robbins said.
The gasoline pumps were turned off by employees shortly after the leak was discovered. The business was immediately closed and did not reopen until 9 p.m., an hour before its scheduled closing time.
The semitrailer was on its way back to the Dayton area about 10 p.m., Streacker said.
No citations were issued.