Diesel spill reported in Merced

A ruptured tank on a big rig spilled a trail of diesel fuel for about three miles in Merced on Sunday, prompting a multi-agency response to assist with the clean up.

The incident was reported around 11 a.m. after the truck began spilling fuel near the intersection of Childs and Parsons avenues, according to Division Chief Mike McLaughlin of the Merced Fire Department.

McLaughlin said the cause of the damage to the fuel tank underneath the truck is unknown. He said a total of 80 gallons of fuel were spilled.

The driver of the truck, however, was unaware of the leak until another driver flagged him down near 15th and O streets in downtown Merced. By that time, the driver had already traveled down Highway 99 and several surrounding streets, leaving a trail of diesel fuel along the way.

Firefighters concentrated their efforts first on areas where the spill was the worst, while Caltrans workers dumped sand on the spill to soak up the fuel, McLaughlin said. No one was hurt during the incident.

McLaughlin said the risk to the public health caused by the spill was "negligible," saying firefighters were mostly concerned about the potential for the fuel causing other vehicles to slip on the road.

No roads were closed to traffic as a result of the spill.

Firefighters were assisted by Merced police, California Highway Patrol, the city's Public Works Department, and the county Department of Environmental Health.

The truck was from a company in San Diego, McLaughlin said.

Reporter Victor A. Patton can be reached at (209) 385-2431 or vpatton@mercedsun-star.com.