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Jet fuel enters storm drains after spill at University of Utah Hospital

(Chopper 5, KSL TV)

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SALT LAKE CITY — An estimated 25 gallons of Jet A fuel spilled Friday outside University of Utah Hospital, entering nearby storm drains.

A tank carrying Jet A fuel was attempting to fill up the hospital’s medical helicopter Friday afternoon when the incident occurred, Salt Lake City Fire Division Chief Ryan Mellor said. The spill happened when the driver of the vehicle took the cap off of the tank and it started spraying fuel due to an apparent valve malfunction.

Originally, officials were concerned with the fuel finding its way to Salt Lake water treatment facilities, but those fears were quelled when they discovered the drains the fuel entered fed into a retention pond near Primary Children’s Hospital.

The University of Utah hired a cleanup crew with Enviro Care, Inc. to handle the mess, according to Noman Khan, spokesperson for University of Utah Health. Ultimately, none of the jet fuel entered the retention pond because the crew was able to clean up the mess before it reached the pond, he said.

By Friday night the mess had been contained, Khan said, but crews were still planning on running tests through the weekend to verify the fuel had been completely contained and cleaned up.

The spill didn’t impact patient care, ambulances or medical helicopters, Khan said.

Two people were contaminated in the spill, but officials confirmed they were decontaminated and were in good condition Friday night.

Mellor added, investigators don’t know the exact amount of fuel that spilled but noted the tank was completely empty.

This spill is the fifth this week in Utah and surrounding areas, and the second at the university. Tuesday, crews responded to a chemical spill at the U., which forced the evacuation of the building and sent one technician to the hospital.

Wednesday, a train derailed and spilled hazardous material near the Utah-Nevada state line onto I-80.

Also Wednesday, nearly 60 people were treated after a railcar spilled at least 300 gallons of sulfur dioxide in Salt Lake City.

Thursday, an estimated 1,000 pounds of lime powder was dumped on westbound I-80 in Summit County.

Contributing: Ray Boone, KSL TV


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