Firefighters, officials back to investigate leak

McCutchenville – Officials are continuing to investigate a gasoline leak that forced 67 McCutchenville residents out of their homes Wednesday.

According to a release, fire and environmental health officials were continuing Friday to investigate the presence of gasoline in the storm water system and gasoline vapors that first were detected Wednesday in homes and businesses in the southwest quadrant of the village. The source of the leak is suspected to have originated at the village’s Clark gas station.

Dean Henry, public information officer for Seneca County, said there are two underground tanks at the gas station – one 6,000 gallons and the other 4,000 gallons. It is uncertain which tank may have a leak, he said.

Thirty-eight residences were affected by the evacuations Wednesday. Residents were allowed back in their homes Thursday around 2 p.m., but after gasoline vapors were detected again early Friday morning, some residents decided to evacuate again.

B.J. Ford, fire chief of McCutchenville Volunteer Fire Department, said the second evacuation was not mandatory, but six or seven households decided to evacuate. By Friday afternoon, all residents had been allowed to return to their homes.

According to the release, firefighters completed flushing the storm water system with water tanker trucks Friday. The U.S. EPA was conducting additional air testing Friday, and private contractors, under the direction of the Ohio and U.S. EPA, also began routine testing of groundwater sources near the origin of the leak.

Testing and remediation efforts will continue for at least the next two weeks. According to the release, if residents detect any odor of gasoline or fuel vapors, they should air out their homes by opening windows and doors, vacate the residence and call 911. Gasoline vapors pose a health and explosion hazard.

Residents with questions regarding their home should call the McCutchenville Fire Department at (419) 981-5005 or call 911.