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Oil Truck Hose Breaks and Sprays Passersby on Seventh Avenue, FDNY Says

By  Trevor Kapp and Aidan Gardiner | October 22, 2013 9:50am | Updated on October 22, 2013 3:41pm

 The truck's hose broke, spilling heating fuel onto the Midtown street Tuesday, the FDNY said.
Oil Spills in Midtown
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MIDTOWN — About 50 gallons of heating oil spilled onto a Midtown street and sprayed a driver and three stunned passersby Tuesday morning when a hose broke as the fuel was being pumped into a building, the FDNY said.

Suranjan Ray, 40, was walking his wife to an appointment on Seventh Avenue near West 37th Street at 8:15 a.m. Tuesday when a hose on a Marathon Energy truck parked outside 485 Seventh Ave. came loose and sprayed him in the face with No. 6 oil, fire officials said.

"I was walking right by when it happened," said Ray, who lives in New Jersey. "My suit and my face were all oil."

"It happened so fast," added Ray, who, along with his wife, had to go into an emergency decontamination shower and change into a white suit. "I was more just surprised and annoyed at first."

"My wife was coughing a lot. I'm more worried about her. I didn't seem to cough that much. But they want us to go to the hospital after this," Ray said.

Firefighters said they were taking those who had been hit with the oil to hospitals as a precaution, but did not believe the oil had injured any of the people affected, an FDNY spokesman said.

Battalion chief Charles Mastandrea said the oil also affected the driver as well as another passerby.

"The driver got oil on himself. Three people passing by got oil. So we had the decontamination shower unit. The driver's been taken to the hospital," Mastandrea said.

The spill was more challenging to clean up than usual because some of the oil flowed underground, Mastandrea said.

"We had to worry about contaminating the subway," he said. "About 10 gallons spilled onto the track and Transit's cleaning that up with their crew."

Some 1 trains bypassed the 34th Street station so the fire department could check underground, but regular service resumed shortly afterward, an MTA spokesman said.

Marathon Energy said the building receiving the oil was at fault for the spill because of an "oil vent blockage," and not the truck operator.

The truck's driver has more than 20 years experience delivering oil and has never been issued a safety or materials handling violation, a spokesman for Marathon Energy said in a statement.

"The incident is being thoroughly investigated by our company as well as various government agencies," the spokesman said.

"Marathon Energy continues to cooperate with the agencies investigating the incident and will continue to adhere to the highest industry standards of safety," he added.

The Department of Environmental Conservation did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Building owner Eretz Group also did not immediately respond to a request for comment.