A fueling crew and employees of a local bulk fuel aircraft service quickly contained a spill on the tarmac of the Kenai Municipal Airport Thursday, but not before some 200 gallons spilled near the airport's fuel service pumps.
Kenai Fire Department Chief Jason Elson said a C-46 Commando owned by Everts Air Fuel had just loaded 450 gallons of aviation fuel into its primary tank when Kenai Airport Fuel Service crews heard a loud popping noise and saw fuel leaking from the tank. Elson said the pilot dumped half of the load into a rear tank, while the fueling crew and Everts Air employees worked to contain the spill with buckets and absorbent pads.
Elson said two of the fire department's crash trucks, along with other department vehicles, were dispatched to the incident, which was contained within an hour and a half after the 4:10 p.m. call.
"It was a highly flammable situation," Elson said. "Both of the crash trucks carry a lot of foam, which is the best agent to use in those types of cases." Elson said the Department of Environmental Conservation was notified and an investigator was on the scene Thursday evening.
The airport remained open and no flights were diverted during the incident, Elson said.
"It (the spill) was all contained to one spot," said Elson, adding that crews from the Kenai Public Works Department were initially called in for help but were turned around once the spill was brought under control.
Elson said the plane was pulled away from the spill site to "air out" before it is restarted. He said firefighters would return today with a "sniffer" to check the aircraft for fumes.
Everts Air Fuel pilot Jim Munson was quick to praise the efforts of the Kenai Airport Fuel Service crew in containing the spill. Everts Air handles bulk fuel shipments to Bush communities throughout the state, and Munson said employees are trained in spill response and cleanup and carry spill response equipment on each aircraft.
Munson said he, two other Everts Air employees and three Kenai Airport Fuel crew members were able to dam up the spill.
"A little less than 200 gallons spilled -- we got two almost full 50-gallon drums of fuel and a couple of salvage barrels of pads," Munson said. "We got all of it.
"Those guys are super-trained for that kind of stuff," Munson said of the Kenai Fuel Service crew. "They demonstrated their training very well."
Munson said the cause of the leak was unknown.
"That aircraft gets inspected on a regular basis," Munson said. "We will find the problem and correct it."
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