Contractor Pumps Heating Oil Into Wrong Home's Basement

Oil delivery mistake displaces resident

By Matthew Stabley
|  Wednesday, Aug 25, 2010  |  Updated 12:02 PM EDT
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Wrong Oil Delivered to House in Alexandria

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Wrong Oil Delivered to House in Alexandria

Craig Melvin reports that a company that delivers home heating oil pumped hundreds of gallons into the wrong house.
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An Alexandria, Va., family was removed from its home Tuesday after a heating oil delivery mishap.

The contractor making the delivery went to the wrong residence in the 1100 block of Colonial Avenue and pumped about 325 gallons of oil into the basement before the mistake was discovered, according to the Alexandria Fire Department.

The contractor found an abandoned pipe and connected to that. The problem?  The containment tank had been removed because the house isn't heated by oil.

Most of the oil passed into the sanitary sewer system via a basement floor drain.  Fire officials gave the sewage treatment plant a head's up so they could take precautions for the oil that was coming their way. 

Contractors were sent to the scene to clean the remaining oil.

A woman who lived at the home and her 5-year-old son packed up some belongings and were sent to a hotel to stay until things are back to normal. 

Fire officials said the situation could have been a lot worse.

"It is a combustible liquid, so obviously you have concerns about the vapors coming in contact with sources of ignition," said Fire Chief Robert Rodriguez.

Sarah Peterson lives at the home that was supposed to get the oil. She ventured down the street to the house where her oil was delivered.

"When I drove up, there were fire trucks everywhere, there were hazmat crews, and all of our neighbors were out on the street," she said.  "I felt bad for the guy who made the mistake because everybody makes mistakes.  I felt bad for the firefighters who had to come out and take care of the mess."


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