Police investigate cause, effects of 2,100-gallon gas spill on Isle of Palms

Updated: Apr. 30, 2021 at 4:16 PM EDT
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ISLE OF PALMS, S.C. (WCSC) - A portion of Palm Boulevard on the Isle of Palms reopened Friday evening as police continue work to figure out what caused a massive early-morning fuel spill.

The spill happened at approximately 2:36 a.m. at a Circle K gas station, Isle of Palms Deputy Fire Chief Jason Smith said.

Police Chief Kevin Cornett said investigators are trying to determine what caused the spill from a fuel truck that had arrived to refill tanks at the station.

“We don’t know if it was mechanical, if it was human error, or what the issue was at this point,” he said. “a large amount of fuel was spilled out into the roadway, and it spilled down Palm Boulevard, and into the parking lot and into our sewers.”

He said the investigation is now two-fold: to figure out why it happened and to determine any potential environmental effects the spill might cause.

“We’ve got a group that’s out here. They’re using a system to flush the sewer, and at the same time, they’ve got a vacuum on the other side that’s vacuuming anything out of that, so that we can avoid any environmental impact, because of the flushing,” Cornett said.

The South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control, the SCDOT and Mount Pleasant Fire and Police Departments have been on the scene assisting Isle of Palms Police and Fire, he said.

The U.S. Coast Guard also responded early Friday morning and said there was no early indication the spilled fuel had reached the water.

Palm Boulevard fully re-opened around 5 p.m.

Authorities had closed the Connector shortly after 5 a.m., but the connector reopened at approximately 10:10 a.m. Initial reports estimated the size of the spill to be about 500 gallons. Later in the morning, the estimate was revised to more than four times that amount.

As a side effect of the lack of road access, the Isle of Palms announced its City Hall would be closed.

No one was injured in the incident, Cornett said.

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