Tanker truck pierced by rebar; spills 5,000 litres of gasoline

CALGARY — Hundreds of people were turned away from work and businesses closed after a major fuel leak kicked the city’s emergency operations centre into high gear early Wednesday.

CALGARY — Hundreds of people were turned away from work and businesses closed after a major fuel leak kicked the city’s emergency operations centre into high gear early Wednesday.

When a bulk fuel carrier was pierced by a piece of rebar, it slit open the tank and unleashed some 4,500 litres of gasoline, the majority of it running into the storm drain.

By early evening, fire chief Bruce Burrell, director of emergency management, said most of the leak had been cleaned up with booms at a water retention pond.

The incident began when the driver of the truck, which was just topped up with fuel, accidentally punctured the tank and then tried his best to stem the flow.

“The operator was in fact covered in fuel and tried to shut the fuel off,” Burrell said. “The emergency cuts-offs were inoperable because of the accident.”

EMS spokesman Stuart Brideaux said gasoline is an irritant to skin and the driver in his 20s was decontaminated by fire crews and later taken to hospital in stable condition.

Several blocks near the scene were taped off while crews did the clean-up, and monitored air quality while vacuum trucks removed sand and foam used to soak up the gasoline.

Emulsifiers were put into the sewer system to break it down the fuel as it travelled several kilometres in the underground storm sewer system.

Transit train operations in the immediate area were temporarily stopped because of a potential for electrical hazard posed by fuel on the ground but shuttle buses ferried passengers between stops.

Officials said the leak did not affect drinking water or cause any lasting contamination.

Fire crews, acting on authority under bylaws allowing them to “requisition goods” in an emergency, broke into a nearby Canadian Tire to get shovels and wheelbarrows to get a head-start on the massive cleanup.

“We used keys to get in and will certainly square up with Canadian Tire for any goods we used,” Burrell said.

A police constable manning an entry to the scene turned away hundreds of people on their way to work.

“I can’t go to work?” one man asked the officer.

“Nope, but don’t worry, your boss isn’t in, either.”

Just Posted

PHOTO: Rainbow Block Party at Red Deer’s West Park

The Trans and Non-Binary Aid Society hosted a Rainbow Block Party at… Continue reading

Blood donations needed in Central Alberta: Canadian Blood Services

357 donors are needed before Aug. 26 at the Red Deer clinic

WATCH: Annual Family Picnic at Central Spray and Play

Blue Grass Sod Farms Ltd. held the Annual Family Picnic at the… Continue reading

Photos: Smoky conditions in Red Deer

Red Deer and area is experiencing high risk air quality.See related: Red… Continue reading

Committee to decide how millions in Humboldt Broncos donations are split

SASKATOON — Lawyers for the families of some of those who died… Continue reading

Boy, 11, dies after being struck by payloader on southern Alberta ranch

BOW ISLAND, Alta. — A boy has died after an accident on… Continue reading

Liberals look at creating federal holiday to mark legacy of residential schools

OTTAWA — The federal Liberal government wants to establish a holiday to… Continue reading

Thousands of police officers expected at regimental funeral in Fredericton

FREDERICTON — Thousands of police officers and first responders from across the… Continue reading

B.C. declares state of emergency over wildfires

VICTORIA — The British Columbia government has declared a provincial state of… Continue reading

As service refusals make headlines, experts say businesses usually in the wrong

Two Canadian businesses that recently made headlines for refusing customers have learned… Continue reading

Irregular asylum claims increased in July after two months of decline

OTTAWA — The number of irregular border crossers in Canada went up… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month