‘The fuel has made the water’ – Fire Chief Matt Wilson

From left, Joel Brookes and an environmental cleanup worker lay booms Wednesday morning.

From left, Joel Brookes shows an environmental cleanup worker where he saw gasoline leaking on Wednesday morning. Photos by Shawn Cunningham

On Wednesday morning — May 21 — Joel Brookes was walking his dog Buddy near the Williams River behind his home on Route 11 near Goldthwaite Road.

He smelled gasoline and looked down to see – clearly through the polarized lenses of his sunglasses – the sheen of gas pouring out of the bank below him. Brookes was concerned earlier this week that the 2,500 gallons of gasoline that was spilled by Friday’s tanker wreck was not being cleaned up quickly enough and that the gas would migrate underground to the river.  “I told you this would happen,” said Brookes.

Workers lay new booms across the Williams River.

Firefighters lay new booms across the Williams River.

After calling 911, Brookes took floating booms that had been used by the Burlington-based cleanup crew and laid them around the area where he could see the leak. Wading out into the river, he set a concrete block on which to tie the booms off.

“The fuel has made the water,” confirmed Chester Fire Chief Matt Wilson. “We directed the homeowner how to put out some booms until we could get here and we will put booms across the river to contain the fuel.” Wilson said he has asked Vermont Emergency Management to send a representative from the Agency of Natural Resources to the scene.

In addition to Chester Fire and Police, the Springfield Fire Department also responded to the call.

— Shawn Cunningham

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