Residents return to neighborhood after tanker truck gasoline leak

A tanker truck carrying gasoline scraped a power pole, causing about 1,200 gallons of gas to leak. (Source: Columbia County EMA)
A tanker truck carrying gasoline scraped a power pole, causing about 1,200 gallons of gas to leak. (Source: Columbia County EMA)

Residents are returning to the Faircloth Commons neighborhood after a tanker truck leaked gasoline and caused evacuations and road closures.

At 10:30 a.m., the Columbia County Sheriff's Office said it's safe for residents who were evacuated due to the leak to return to their homes. Crews will remain in the area to thoroughly clean up the spill.

The truck hit a power pole in the parking lot of the Circle K on Washington Road at Faircloth Drive around 7 a.m. Monday morning, said Pam Tucker, EMA director for Columbia County. One compartment ruptured, causing about 700 gallons of gas to leak.

Charlotte Nistler lives in Faircloth Commons, and says she was surprised when she got a knock at her door at 7:00 am.

"They woke us up at 7:00 a.m. and said that there had been a gas spill and that we needed to evacuate," she says.

Several business and homes were evacuated today according to Capt. Jimmie Paschal with the  Columbia County Fire Department.

"We evacuated five businesses, and a townhouse complex which was down the road. That was because of the runoff that was headed in that direction," he says.

The Evans Diner, Jiffy Lube, Sparkle Car Wash, and Faircloth Commons were all evacuated until 10:30 a.m.

Capt. Pashcal says in situations like this, there's a variety of ways they warn the public to evacuate.

"We can go door to door, it can be done through a reverse 911, or it can be done through the media," Paschal says. 

Today they decided on the door-to-door method, and Nistler says she's glad they took the time to warn everyone about the gas spill.

"I'm glad that they came and told us about it and made sure that everyone was safe," she says.

Washington Road traffic is back to normal, Tucker said, and Faircloth Drive is open again.

Columbia County Roads and Bridges brought in two loads of sand. The Haz-Mat Team and firefighters contained the spill until a cleanup crew from Columbia, S.C. arrived.

A recovery truck also arrived on the scene to off-load the remaining fuel on the tanker.

Columbia County officials are asking residents to avoid the Faircloth Drive area.

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