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Tanker carrying 8,000 gallons of aviation fuel crashes near PBIA

Posted at 12:46 PM, Dec 28, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-29 05:36:57-05

Traffic came to a halt on Belvedere Road in West Palm Beach on Thursday after a tanker carrying 8,000 gallons of aviation fuel overturned.

The major road was closed for more than six hours while multiple first responders worked to clear the scene. 

The scene also brought out numerous eyewitnesses. 

"As we were leaving the airport, we were backed up in traffic, and as we were coming by, we saw a turned over tanker. It was like, 'Welcome to Palm Beach,'" said a man traveling into town. 

"Our office is actually right down the street on Florida Mango," said David Winfrey, who runs a cab company for the airport and had to detour all of his cabs for hours while crews cleaned up the mess. 

According to Florida Highway Patrol. the driver of the tanker was not injured, but it is still unclear how the truck overturned in the first place. 

Palm Beach County Fire crews were not able to repair a crack in the tank. That is when the aviation fuel began to leak into nearby storm drains. 

"A significant amount," said Palm Beach Fire Rescue spokesperson Albert Borroto. "It was pouring out of there." 

Crews with the Department of Environmental Protection were called in to help clear fuel from the storm drains. 

"What we are establishing now is how much product is in that underground sewer, and where has it gone?" said Borroto. 

The tanker is owned by Menzies Aviation. Contact 5 looked into the company. We found no reported crashes to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in the last two years, but we did find a number of complaints and incidents elsewhere. 

According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), Menzies Aviation has has numerous complaints and incidents reported over the last several years. 

Eventually, crews were able to off-load about 1,600 gallons from the overturned tanker, and 200 gallons from nearby storm drains. 

Crews sprayed chemical foam on the streets and grounded the tanker to prevent sparks, but officials say no nearby building were evacuated.