June 22, 2018
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Neighbors evacuated as fuel truck accident closes Route 1 in Northport

By Heather Steeves, BDN Staff

NORTHPORT, Maine — An overturned fuel truck leaking gasoline caused police to shut down Route 1 and evacuate neighboring homes Friday morning.

The road was closed for about seven hours before being reopened before 3:30 p.m.

The accident happened at the intersection near Bayside Road about 8:30 a.m. The driver of the fuel truck, owned by Thompson’s Oil and Propane out of Waldo, swerved to avoid hitting a car that pulled in front of him, according to Lt. David Tripp of the Maine State Police.

The truck tipped over on the shoulder of the road and landed on its side in a ditch.

The tanker held more than 4,000 gallons of gasoline, but it is unclear how much of that spilled.

“We don’t have a way of knowing that,” Tripp said. “My impression is it wasn’t a large amount. It came out of the tank at a fairly slow rate. There’s no fear they won’t be able to clean it all up.”

Though police didn’t think an explosion was likely, local homes were evacuated as a precaution. By 3:30 p.m., people were back in their homes, the truck was towed away and Route 1 was open.

Tripp said environmental agencies continued to work Friday night to collect all the contaminated soil.

Police did not release the drivers’ names, but said neither was injured. The fuel company declined to comment.

Tripp said neither alcohol nor speed likely were factors.

Assisting at the scene were members of the Maine State Police, Waldo County Emergency Management Agency, Maine Department of Environmental Protection, Waldo County Hazardous Materials Team, Belfast police, Northport Fire Department and the fuel company’s own hazardous materials team.

Travelers, Tripp said, were understanding of the detours around the main road.

“We really did appreciate the understanding and the patience of the motorists in the area today. We had a critical incident and they were more than accommodating,” he said.

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