BILLERICA, MA (WCVB) — A Massachusetts town is saying thank you to two local landscapers after their quick thinking helped prevent a messy oil spill from becoming and environmental disaster.
On Jan. 16, a motor vehicle crash between a car and a home heating oil truck spilled thousands of gallons of oil at the intersection of Salem Road and Gray Street.
Micah Trudeau and Keith Titus, of Trudeau Landscape Co., immediately stopped when they noticed the crash.
“Keith called 911 and I ran out and climbed up on the tanker truck and helped the driver climb out of the driver’s seat,” Trudeau said.
Both drivers were OK, but the landscapers couldn’t help but notice the red-tinted fuel gushing from the ruptured tanker.
“It was crazy and it just wouldn’t stop coming out of the truck,” Titus said.
“Literally a river of home heating oil going down the street,” said Billerica Fire Capt. Matthew Battcock, who was off-duty at the time of the crash but happened to be passing by.
Fellow Billerica Fire Capt. Joe Bukoiemski also happened to be driving by the scene of the crash. The two captains sprang into action, while the two landscapers provided the critical tools that helped contain the spill.
“We grabbed the shovels and we started digging up dirt from the edge of the road and making, like, a makeshift dam just to help contain it,” Trudeau said.
If the oil made it just 10 feet further down the road, it would have leaked into a nearby manhole and possibly into the town’s wastewater treatment system, which would have caused significant damage.
“As small as a shovel may seem, it did a lot of good,” Battcock said. “It stopped a lot of damage environmentally.”
On Monday, Billerica officials voted to recognize the training of firefighters and Department of Public Works employees, along with the quick thinking of Titus and Trudeau.
“We were in the right place at the right time,” Trudeau said.
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