Diesel spill shuts down Lambton Quay

Last updated 16:00 30/09/2011
Diesel spill

CLEAN UP: Diesel spilt onto the footpath on Lambton Quay from a pipe being fed under the pavement.

Diesel spill
CLEAN UP: The tanker driver cleans diesel off himself after a spill on Lambton Quay.

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A diesel spill caused by a high pressure tank on Lambton Quay closed part of the north end of the street and pavement this afternoon.

LATEST: Senior Station Officer Nick Pyatt said diesel had leaked into the main switch room of Plunket House on Lambton Quay.

Workers isolated power to the eight-storey building and sealed the over-pressurised diesel tank.

Firefighters contained the diesel from entering drains, said Wellington Fire Service central communications shift manager Murray Dunbar.

"Fifty litres spilled there which will have to be absorbed."

A woman slipped and diesel splashed in her face after the spill erupted about 12.35pm outside a 2degrees store.

The north-bound road was closed between Balance and Bunny streets for about three hours.

The spill was caused when a tank underneath the street was overfilled by a tanker operator.

Mr Pyatt said a faulty gauge led to the error and the pressure in the tank needed to be reduced. High-pressure diesel was flammable and a potential danger to the public, Mr Pyatt said.

Hataitai man Anthony Xanthopol, 38, was standing nearby when the spill erupted from the ground.

"I heard a commotion. I looked over and the guy [operator] was trying to dampen down the diesel that was coming out. It was a fountain, but it didn't go high because he put his hand over it."

A middle-aged woman was walking past at the time and slipped.

"She fell on the pavement stones. As she fell she fell into the spray and got a bit on her clothes and in her eyes."

Mr Xanthopol came to her aid. She was later treated at the scene by a Wellington Free Ambulance paramedic and was not transferred to hospital.

"She's fine. They just wanted to make sure that her eyes were OK. I think she was a bit shaken at first. It's a foul smell."

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- The Dominion Post


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