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Fuel-tank scrape downtown causes diesel spill

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Crews from the city of Wenatchee and Chelan County Fire District 1 responded to a diesel spill at Kittitas and Columbia streets Monday. About 20 gallons spilled from a semi when one its fuel tanks brushed the pavement and lost its drain plug.

WENATCHEE — Quick work by a truck driver and emergency responders Monday afternoon prevented a spill downtown of about 20 gallons of diesel from becoming worse.

Matt Klym, driver for Hicks Transportation of Albany, Oregon, was pulling his Peterbilt 18-wheeler out of the parking lot of cold-storage facility, Lineage Logistics, when one of the rig’s fuel tanks scraped a bump in the pavement and lost the tank’s drain plug.

I heard it drag and I’m like, ‘Oh, no,’” Klym said from the scene Monday at the corner of Columbia and Kittitas streets. “I opened the door and smelled diesel.”

Klym grabbed a rubber glove and tried to plug the tank’s approximately 2-inch drain hole, and used buckets to catch much of the spill.

Glen Widener, deputy chief of Chelan County Fire District 1, estimated that about 20 gallons of diesel may have spilled from the tank, including a little that made it into a city storm-water drain.

Crews arrived, including a team from the state Department of Ecology, which was in town to investigate a fuel sheen discovered Friday on the Columbia River.

City crews Monday were preparing to use a vacuum truck to remove the spilled diesel from the stormwater system.

Klym said he’d just picked up a load of frozen peas and was headed to Albany. He said he’d likely need to take his truck to a shop for repair before getting back on the road.


Reach Christine Pratt at 509-665-1173 or . Follow her on Twitter at @CPrattWW.