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Posted on Wed, Jul 3, 2013 : 5:55 p.m.

1,000 gallons of gas spill when tanker falls; HazMat team responds

By Kyle Feldscher


More than 1,000 gallons of gasoline were spilled Wednesday evening in Ypsilanti Township when two tankers collapsed on each other.

Courtney Sacco |

Update: 14-hour cleanup complete after tanker spill 1,000 gallons of gas

More than 1,000 gallons of petroleum spilled spilled from a Sloan Petroleum Transport tanker late Wednesday afternoon, requiring the Washtenaw County Hazardous Materials Team for cleanup.

Capt. Larry James of the Ypsilanti Township Fire Department said crews were dispatched at 5:18 p.m. to the scene of the spill at 3105 E. Michigan Ave. in Ypsilanti Township.

Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Geoffrey Fox said two tankers were propped up side by side and not attached to a tractor, in the rear of a parking lot when the tanker on the right collapsed.

According to James, the heavy rain recently in the area caused the ground underneath the tankers to become too soft to support the jack holding the front axel of the tankers. After the right tanker fell, it knocked down the left one and caused a puncture in the right tanker, causing it to spill 1,000 of the 9,000 gallons of gasoline it contained. The left tank, which also contained 9,000 gallons of gasoline, was not punctured.

No one suffered any injuries. The sheriff’s office, Ypsilanti Township Fire Department and Huron Valley Ambulance were dispatched to the scene.

The parking lot is adjacent to two buildings, one a small office building and the other a barn, and the HazMat team actively was investigating the spill area near the buildings and the power to each had been shut off as of 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. The owner of the small office building initially called in the accident report.

There are two other tankers on the property that were unaffected. One contains 1,000 gallons of diesel fuel and the other is empty.

There are no streams or wetlands near the parking that would be affected by the spill, according to James, and most of the gasoline is seeping into the ground. HazMat teams also were getting a non-explosive reading from the fuels.

James also said the two trailer parks adjacent to the parking lot were not in any kind of jeopardy at this point.

Cleanup of the dirt likely will not happen Wednesday night, but before emergency crews can leave, both tankers must be propped back up and secured in the position they previously were in or removed from the property. The gasoline in the tankers also will need to be pumped out and transferred to another tanker before leaving the scene.

James estimated overall cleanup would take about six hours total.

Fox said no roads will be closed in the area Wednesday evening, but traffic may be slow due to the amount of fire department personnel responding to the scene.

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Health and environment reporter Amy Biolchini contributed to this report.

Kyle Feldscher covers cops and courts for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.



Thu, Jul 4, 2013 : 1:20 p.m.

Sounds like a major code violation. Does Ypsi Township have any rules?


Thu, Jul 4, 2013 : 11 a.m.

It is not an axle that collapsed . It is the dolly wheels used to jack up the front of the trailer. With 9000 gallons of fuel in them the should have been on a cement slab not on dirt or asphalt. The asphalt gets soft in the hot sun.


Thu, Jul 4, 2013 : 4:47 a.m.

Unless the trucks were figure skating, it was an axle that dropped, not an "axel."


Fri, Jul 5, 2013 : 4:17 p.m.

But was the toe loop correctly placed on the axel? Otherwise you are in for a nasty spill.

Duc d'Escargot

Thu, Jul 4, 2013 : 11:16 a.m. maintains its tradition of dreadful writing and no apparent copyediting or proofreading.

Paprika Z

Thu, Jul 4, 2013 : 1:58 a.m.

Does anyone have any idea why someone is storing four tankers, three of them full of gasoline, in a parking lot?

Susanne Brace

Thu, Jul 4, 2013 : 2:46 a.m.

Good question! I would very much like to know the answer.


Thu, Jul 4, 2013 : 1:57 a.m.

So is that 1000 gallons pretty much up for grabs? Five second rule?


Thu, Jul 4, 2013 : 1:36 a.m.

Recall long ago during labor strife in Peoria, IL that such events were a common sight. Or, imagine a loaded trailer with one of the two supporting wheels knocked away & the frame tied in a virtual knot.

Dirty Mouth

Thu, Jul 4, 2013 : 1:21 a.m.

Cheap real estate.

dading dont delete me bro

Thu, Jul 4, 2013 : 1:39 a.m.

yep, the value just went down...oh wait, we'll pay YOU to take it

dading dont delete me bro

Thu, Jul 4, 2013 : 12:12 a.m.

,just in time for the 4th and prices to go up...


Fri, Jul 5, 2013 : 4:16 p.m.

I was thinking the same thing.

Amy Biolchini

Wed, Jul 3, 2013 : 11:24 p.m.

The right lane of westbound East Michigan Avenue was closed when I left the sene about 7 pm. The number of emergency personnel that responded will likely mean that lane will be closed for a while.


Wed, Jul 3, 2013 : 10:13 p.m.

And us little people are not to fill our gas tanks on hot days to reduce emissions, lol

John of Saline

Wed, Jul 3, 2013 : 10:11 p.m.

"No smoking, guys. Seriously."