Coast Hit By Wave Of Leaky Gas Stations - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

09/13/03

Coast Hit By Wave Of Leaky Gas Stations

A local company is blaming faulty pipes for turning several coast gas stations into hazard areas. Around 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Ocean Springs firefighters responded to a call from the Citgo gas station on Hanley and Highway 90. Officials say they found gas on the ground and a potentially dangerous situation.

Fire chief Mark Hare said "Upon arrival, fire crews notified the commanding officer that there was a fairly large volume of gas that had leaked out of the holding tanks."

With about 100 gallons of gasoline on the ground, firefighters sprang into action by quickly evacuating the area.

"Anytime you're dealing with a flammable liquid or any kind of hostile or toxic chemical make up life safety is of the utmost importance. Yes it does end up being a scary situation," said Hare.

Emergency responder Earl Etheridge told WLOX the morning's leak was the fourth one he's worked in the past two months. Etheridge covers the coastal region of the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality. He says the common thread among all of the gas stations is that they're owned by the same company. Meanwhile, the company says it knows what's fueling a rash of gasoline leaks here on the coast.

The DEQ says this is the fourth recent leak from Coastal Energy owned gas stations. Just days ago the DEQ says 800 to 1000 gallons spewed from a station in D'Iberville. The other leaks were in Gulfport and Waveland in which gasoline got into the city sewer system.

Coastal energy representatives say they've pin-pointed the problem and they're working to correct it.

Roy Ladner, a company spokesman said, "We know what caused it. We're using Enviroflex, flexible lines and they're having them break all over the country. It's not the greatest stuff in the world. We were gonna replace this line that just broke. We were gonna replace it next week."

Ladner says if you are at a gas station and there's a leak "don't" start your vehicle. It could ignite a fire. Either push the vehicle out of the area or leave the car behind and wait for the fire department.

by Danielle Thomas

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