500 gallons of cooking oil spill onto Gaston County roads, highway

GASTON COUNTY, N.C. — More than 500 gallons of cooking oil spilled Monday across several Gaston County roads near the Lincoln County line.

Channel 9′s Dave Faherty learned it was waste cooking oil that had spilled from a Fluid Technology Inc. truck. It leaked for about 12 miles, from Gaston Webbs Chapel Road to Landers Chapel Road.

Gaston County officials said they were most concerned about oil that had trickled down Hardin Road onto Highway 321 for several miles. Police said it started “congealing into a lard-like substance and pooling” near where Highway 321 turns into North Chester Street in Gastonia.

At the QuikTrip along Highway 321 in Gastonia, workers said they saw the truck leaking the oil. By lunchtime, much of the parking lot was covered with an absorbent that looks like dust or sand.

One couple at the gas station covered their faces as they headed back to their car because the absorbent was blowing on them.

“I was definitely wondering what it was. I didn’t know it was oil,” Jessica Burden said. “I thought something had just spilled off a truck. That’s crazy to have oil in the street.”

In a news release, emergency management director Scott Hunter said the oil spill is unlike a diesel fuel one because diesel will eventually evaporate.

Hunter told drivers to be careful because the road will be slick. He said drivers who quickly accelerate or decelerate will be at risk for fishtailing.

Kevin Peace said when he headed out for work Monday at 6 a.m., he noticed a difference with the oil in the road.

“It felt like I was on ice,” he said. “It felt like I had no control of what was happening. Vegetable oil, that’s a big doozy.”

Carolina Environmental Response crews are working to clean the oil up and expect to be finished by Tuesday afternoon. They’re putting sand down along Highway 321 down toward High Shoals and will be cleaning up the intersections overnight.

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