What triggered hazmat situation Monday morning in Farmville?

Published 8:37 pm Monday, May 20, 2024

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It all stemmed from a leak in the parking lot. In the early morning hours on Monday, the Farmville Fire Department was called out to the Valero gas station at 2102 S. Main Street for what was reported as a hazmat situation. 

The Valero was shut down and parts of nearby Clark Street were also closed while the situation was being dealt with. According to Farmville Fire Chief Daniel Clark, the issue involved a cloud spotted in the parking lot. A truck driver had delivered his cargo and then parked his vehicle for the evening at the Valero, heading to the nearby motel for the night. As some Valero customers walked by the vehicle in the early morning, they noticed something coming out of the vehicle. 

“Some folks walked by and noticed a cloud,” Clark said. 

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Upon investigation, this turned out to be a cloud of refrigerated methane. It turns out some had remained in the vehicle after the delivery. 

“Thankfully he had offloaded his cargo, so there wasn’t much,” Clark said. “But we took precautions because methane is highly flammable.” 

Refrigerated methane has a number of uses. It’s an alternative to diesel fuel, heats some homes and businesses, as well as contributing to the industrial process. And in this case, some just leaked out of its container, to create a hazmat situation. 

The fire department brought in the state hazmat team to help with cleanup, to err on the side of caution. Within a few hours, it was all cleaned up and the Valero was reopened, as was Clark Street. 

The only thing that remained unanswered is how the methane got out of the vehicle, as there was no obvious tear or hole for the material to leak through. 

“We’re not sure what caused the leak,” Clark said.