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Overturned Oil Tanker Shuts Down I-83, Spills Oil Into Jones Falls

BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- A truck carrying 3,000 gallons of heating oil overturned on the JFX near Northern Parkway Tuesday morning, and oil quickly gushed over the interstate down into the Jones Falls.

Officials rushed to contain the spill before the oil reached the Inner Harbor; a contractor put up barriers in the water near Pier Six.

Jay Apperson with the Maryland Department of the Environment told WJZ Investigator Mike Hellgren there were no immediate health concerns, but it was critical to get the fuel out of the water.

"It's a petroleum. You don't want it in the waterways. It can be harmful to wildlife. It's combustible even," Apperson said. "We're trying recover as much as possible as quickly as possible."

Hellgren reported a strong fuel odor more than a half mile downstream from the spill as well as a reddish-pink residue visible on the Jones Falls. Home heating oil is dyed red.

Contractors were also siphoning oil from the water across from the Baltimore Streetcar Museum near Station North and placing it in a vacuum tanker.

"That is a challenge. There are some steep areas. We need to be safe," Apperson said.

The overturned oil truck driver worked for Carroll Fuel Oil Company.

Roman Clark with the Baltimore City Fire Department told WJZ, "As far as what caused the truck to flip over, it's currently being investigated."

He said no one was seriously injured.

"I'm sure it could have been more catastrophic if we had more people coming into town."

The crash shut down all lanes of the JFX until noon Tuesday. It's unclear how long it will take to clean up all of the fuel.

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