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RIG OVERTURNS, SPILLS 125 GALLONS OF FUEL

A tractor-trailer overturned in the Village of Lewiston shortly before 7:30 a.m. Tuesday, leaking about 125 gallons of diesel fuel onto the ground and into the Niagara River.

Members of Lewiston No. 1 Fire Company responded to the crash, which occurred on Center Street just as the driver turned south onto Water Street, Assistant Fire Chief Michael Torrie said.

Firefighters found the rig down an access road behind Water Street Landing, after it hit a boulder that ruptured the fuel tank, Torrie said.

Crews from the village's Department of Public Works immediately began containing the spill with absorbent material, Torrie said, and firefighters joined in efforts to sop up the fuel.

Some of the fuel flowed into the river, and the Lewiston Hazardous Materials Department was summoned to install booms to collect the oil from the river's surface, Torrie said.

Firefighters from Lewiston No. 1, Upper Mountain, Lewiston No. 2 and Sanborn fire companies assisted in the cleanup.

The Coast Guard also responded, as did members of the Marine Safety Office.

Also assisting were members of Lewiston police, the Niagara County Health Department and the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

Torrie said that even though the boulder alongside the road ruptured the rig's tank, other boulders stopped it from going into the river.

One boulder was pushed into a building used by Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours, causing damage, Torrie added.

A Coast Guard representative said booming efforts were halted when officials determined that the fuel had dissipated from the river.

e-mail: pkowalik@buffnews.com

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