HACKENSACK, N.J. -- Emergency crews were cleaning up quite a mess in Bergen County on Monday, following an oil spill inside a home in Hackensack.
The county's Hazardous Materials Response Unit was trying to pump out the oil and minimize the impact on the environment.
The Hackensack Fire Department said hundreds of gallons of Number 2 heating oil spilled into the basement of the home on Maple Hill Drive.
Fire officials said the residents had at some point removed their oil tank, but left the fill pipes intact and were still enrolled in an automatic delivery program. So when the auto delivery came to fill up Monday the oil went through the pipes, which were not hooked up to anything, and as a result gallons of oil spilled into the homeowner's basement.
Heating oil is hazardous to the environment and the fumes can be toxic to people, so the residents were advised to leave their home until the cleanup was finished. Local officials said neighbors were not affected.
Tuesday, fire officials say the homeowners may have missed a crucial step in the oil tank removal process -- the residents did not remove the tank's intake valves.
Experts say while this is not a common occurence, it does happen.
"It goes straight into the basement, and we've seen homes condemned after that because it can be remediated, however ... you can only remediate so much to get rid of that smell of oil before you have to kind of give in and just move on," said John Rango, managing partner at New Jersey Oil Tank Sweep & Geoscan.
Rango told CBS New York homeowner's insurance does not cover messes like this, so it falls into the hands of the homeowners.
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