A fuel spill on Kingsview Boulevard SE last week drew a response from Airdrie Fire Department officials, who determined the spill was the result of an attempted theft of gasoline.
Airdrie fire crews responded to the reported spill at 7 a.m. on March 22, according to a City press release. Members of the Airdrie Fire Department's rapid response HazMat team were on scene to assist with the cleaning of infrastructure, as well as the removal and disposal of all contaminated material that was collected from the sewer system.
“When fire crews arrived at the address, they determined that someone had attempted to steal gasoline from two commercial vehicles located on the scene,” the release stated. “Thieves had drilled holes into the fuel tanks of both a cube van and a pick-up truck before making off with an unknown amount of gasoline.”
Approximately 80 litres of gasoline remaining in the fuel tanks spilled onto the paved parking area where the incident occurred, according to the City. Prior to arrival of fire department personnel, some of the fuel had made its way into a nearby storm sewer catch basin.
The City did not indicate the specific location. However, business owner Brad Lambert notified the Airdrie City View that it was his roofing and siding company the criminals had targeted. He said his business' surveillance footage showed the criminals stealing the gas at around 5:30 a.m.
“Both vehicles had holes drilled into the gas tank,” he said. “They found a Home Depot bucket with a garbage can in it with a little bit of gas. All the gas was running into the sewer. The sewer was right beside it. They punctured it, took a little bit, and let the rest run into the sewer.”
“Firefighters applied absorbent material directly on the spill and used absorbent socks and pads to mitigate further contamination to the storm system,” the City's press release stated.
“City of Airdrie public works personnel monitored the underground storm water system to determine how much of their infrastructure had been affected.”
Lambert said this wasn't the first time his company has been targeted by thieves, as he's had catalytic converters and other equipment related to his business stolen from work sites before. According to Lambert, his insurance company is covering the expenses related to replacing the damaged gas tanks, but having the vehicles out of commission for multiple days has cost his business between $8,000 and $10,000.
He said he's been frustrated by an uptick in these sorts of incidents in Airdrie, adding he feels like it's a low-risk crime with few repercussions.
“Because it’s a small minor crime, a report is taken and that’s it. These guys, I don’t think they’re new to the police, but I think some of this stuff is written off as, ‘It is what it is.’” he said.
“What the answer is for that, I don’t know. But I’m seeing more and more of it in Airdrie and there's no repercussions. Or at least, there's no knowledge to the public of, ‘This guy has been charged, or this was found.’ I kind of feel like our city is becoming a safe haven for these small, petty crimes, because there’s no repercussions.”
Mitigation and clean-up efforts took just under five hours hours to complete, according to the City, who claimed "the collaborative efforts of all agencies involved ensured that there were no negative impacts to the environment."
Airdrie RCMP officers were on scene to assist with the investigation of the incident, and there were no injuries to report.