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Residents Return as Johnston Gasoline Cleanup Goes On

Posted January 6, 2008

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— Dozens of people living in Johnston County got to go home Sunday after an overnight gasoline spill prompted precautionary evacuations.

Hundreds of gallons leaked into a creek in Kenly from the Etheridge Oil Co., and crews spent Sunday trying to get as much as they could out of the water.

Oily globs remained on the water surface Sunday in the creek that runs near U.S. Highway 301, but the layer had been 2 inches thick Saturday night, officials said.

“You could smell gas good,” said Carrie Hinnant, behind whose home the creek flows. “Anytime I smell gas, I'm ready to go!”

Firefighters knocked on Randy Shoular's door.

“They kept knocking, saying, ‘You got to go, you got to go,’” Shoular said.

He and about 50 others went to North Johnston Middle School for shelter.

“The need for evacuation of homes was simply a safety measure. Anytime you have gas out there, you have potential for fire,” said Pat LaCarter of the Johnston County Emergency Management Office.

Authorities contained the spill to a half-mile stretch of the creek, using booms to keep it from going farther downstream.

Workers at the Etheridge Oil Co. on Sunday declined to comment.

Environmental officials were investigating whether a valve on a 10,000-gallon Etheridge Oil storage tank may have frozen and ruptured, spilling about 1,000 gallons into the canal.

Officials said they found signs of aquatic life in the creek, but it was too early to assess the damage.

Officials said Etheridge Oil is paying all expenses for the fuel recovery. It was not clear Sunday whether the company would face any fine for the incident.


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  • OLD PIRATE 2 Jan 7, 2008

    DOUG WARE- Thanks for putting this into perspective. People hear oil company and go crazy. They need to be thankful to have these small distributors around.....but for how long is another question with EPA and NO margins on gasoline.

  • tarheel22 Jan 7, 2008

    Looks like another gas hike!

  • ghimmy47 Jan 7, 2008

    More likely the incidents happened in Ohio and you never heard of them. No reports. No evacuations. No cleanup. The record of the area tends to support this.

  • sentinel94m Jan 7, 2008

    kursk1488... Sounds like you fit right in with the northern ignorance that I left. So you can take the place I left in Ohio, and don't let the door hit you on the rear end on your way out... I'll be staying here in North Carolina as long as I don't have to evacuate because of someones irresponsibility. And that's exactly what it is in these cases.

  • kursk1488 Jan 6, 2008

    sentinel go back home to Ohio then. Enough northern foreigners here as it is.

  • sentinel94m Jan 6, 2008

    When I was growing up in the Ohio Valley, I lived near literally hundreds of chemical, industrial and manufacturing plants and factories. There quite possibly was the same number of industrial businesses there than in NC. Never in the 18 years that I lived in Ohio were there as many accidents as North Carolina has with the same types of industries within the last 4 years. What is the deal? Last year, there was an evacuation of almost half the town of Apex because of a chemical leak. In North Raleigh there was an evacuation because of a toxic spill at Mallinckrodt. When topics like these come to the news, I get really upset when I hear about new nuclear plants and biological research laboratories comming to the Triangle. This type of news almost forces me jump into the NIMBY (not in my backyard) groups!

  • DougWare.NET Jan 6, 2008

    First of all, this is not a large oil company like Exxon and BP. They haven't "fleeced" anyone. They are simply a reseller of petroleum based products.

    Secondly, being from Kenly, knowing that accidents happen no matter what, and that it's too soon to assign blame to anyone or any company...I applaud the company for paying for the cleanup.

  • grant Jan 6, 2008

    Ya'll come back now, ya hear!