Oil spill shuts down midtown during morning rush
Four people were hospitalized and traffic on two midtown blocks was brought to a standstill Tuesday morning after a tanker spilled 50 gallons of heating oil on to the street.
Around 8:12 a.m., the tanker was pumping oil into an apartment building on Seventh Avenue between 36th and 37th streets when the oil leaked, spilling onto the streets as far as 35th Street before hazmat crews arrived. FDNY and NYPD crews worked throughout the morning to clean up the spill, halting rush-hour traffic.
When the hose was being disconnected from the fill line, oil sprayed out and hit the driver in the face, according to Lisa King, spokeswoman for the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
In addition to the driver, three pedestrians got the oil on their bodies. All four were taken to Bellevue Hospital Center for decontamination, a fire department spokesman said.
Brooklyn-based Marathon Energy, the oil company, said in a statement that the leak was caused by a blocked oil vent in the building.
"The DEC has already determined that the professional driver delivering the oil was not at fault and that Marathon Energy will not be issued a citation," the company said in a statement.
King, the DEC spokeswoman, did not expect a citation to be issued.
Some of the oil spilled into the subway system through a sidewalk grating, causing two No. 1 trains to run express between Chambers Street and Times Square, an MTA spokeswoman said.