July 13, 2020
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Teen driver’s crash into garage causes 100-gallon fuel oil spill

BREWER – A young woman who on Monday drove through her grandmother’s garage door and into an oil tank caused it to rupture and spill more than 100 gallons of heating oil, according to Brewer firefighters and a Department of Environmental Protection official.

Firefighters responded to the call around 12:15 p.m., plugged the leak and contained the area to prevent a fire from starting. The Brewer Fire Department hazmat team and a DEP official arrived soon afterward and continued the cleanup.

No one was hurt in the accident, a fire official said.

Courtnie Wood, 18, no residence available, was in her grandmother’s car on the unpaved driveway at her grandmother’s home at 1206 North Main St., when she tried to back up the vehicle.

The young woman didn’t realize the car was in drive and instead accelerated through the garage door and into the oil tank at the back of the garage, according to Lt. Robbie Wildes of the fire department.

The red Ford Escort is registered to Delores Blanchard of Brewer, according to state records.

The home sits near the Penobscot River, but “there was no real risk to the river,” Cleve Leckey, a DEP oil and hazardous materials specialist, said as he was preparing to leave the scene.

Leckey said that because the spill was contained quickly, it did not pose a threat to the river. The DEP will be monitoring tap water in the area to be sure that there is no contamination to the well or water lines, but Leckey said he does not expect any problems.

“[The DEP] is called in anytime there’s a spill like this,” Leckey said. “I’m here to see if anything can be done to prevent contamination.”

He added that filtration systems will be given to the Blanchards to make sure their water is safe to drink, until testing on the water is completed.

The hazmat team and DEP were on scene for about two hours until they finished most of the cleanup. Debris from the garage and damaged door was strewn on the lawn of the residence. The cleanup team used absorbent pads to soak up the heating oil.

Clean Harbor Environmental Inc., an environmental clean-up company, has been called in to do the rest of the job, which includes emptying the remainder of the oil in the tank and disposing of debris from the garage.

Leckey said that the remediation will be paid for out of a fund that was set up for spills like this that occur at Maine homes.


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