Subway Service Was Briefly Disrupted

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Cleanup continued in Midtown following Tuesday afternoon a massive oil spill on Seventh Avenue.

A Marathon Energy truck was pumping heating oil to a building on Seventh Avenue and 36th Street on Tuesday morning when the hose popped, CBS 2’s Kathryn Brown reported.

About 50 gallons of “number 6” oil spilled onto the street — 10 gallons dripped into the subway, briefly disrupting northbound service on the No. 1 line.

“We had to worry about contaminating the subway, and we had to deal with Con Ed because it went into the manhole,” said FDNY Battalion Chief Charles Mastandrea.

Number 6 is described as one of the dirtiest and most toxic forms of heating fuel, Brown reported. New York City has ordered buildings that use it to phase it out in favor of cleaner fuels by 2015.

The truck driver, as well as three people walking by, were all contaminated with the highly toxic heating oil, Brown reported.

“I heard it. It was like a vacuuming sound, and next thing I know, there was oil splattering on me,” said victim Suranjan Ray of West Orange, N.J., who was walking down Seventh Avenue with his wife at the time of the incident. “We both got oil in our eyes. My wife was coughing a lot. I’m more worried about her. I didn’t seem to cough that much.”

All four victims were forced to strip and don hazmat suits, then go through a decontamination shower.

EMS crews have conducted a number of air quality tests and said there is no danger to anyone, Brown reported.

Marathon Energy released a statement on the incident Tuesday.

“The incident is being thoroughly investigated by our company as well as various government agencies. The (Department of Environmental Control) has already determined that the professional driver delivering the oil was not at fault and that Marathon Energy will not be issued a citation,” the statement said in part. “Marathon Energy continues to cooperate with the agencies investigating the incident and will continue to adhere to the highest industry standards of safety.”

The company said the leak did not come from a vent line that would indicate an overflow, but rather from a fill line that indicates a blockage issue with a building tank. The truck driver involved has 20 years of experience, and the company said it has an “exemplary” safety record.

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