Fuel mix-up renders Va. county fire, EMS vehicles inoperable

The county's fueling contract company inadvertently filled up the tanks with the wrong fuel, putting diesel in the regular gasoline tanks and gasoline in diesel tanks


By Adrienne Wallace
Herald-Post Staff
The Progress-Index, Petersburg, Va.

PRINCE GEORGE, Va. — All Prince George Fire and EMS vehicles have been rendered inoperable on Monday, and local emergency officials are scrambling to connect with regional partners for mutual aid.

On Monday, the county's fueling contract company, James River Petroleum, apparently inadvertently filled up the tanks with the wrong fuel, putting diesel in the regular gasoline tanks and gasoline in diesel tanks, County Administrator Percy Aschraft said.

The county is working to drain the fuel from its emergency service vehicles and tanks with assistance from James River, but a timeline of when they will be operational is unclear.  (Photo/Prince George County Fire and EMS)
The county is working to drain the fuel from its emergency service vehicles and tanks with assistance from James River, but a timeline of when they will be operational is unclear. (Photo/Prince George County Fire and EMS)

Jumping into action, Fire and EMS Director Brad Owens called for a local emergency and activated the Emergency Operations Center to discuss and address what the county faces and how to still try to meet the needs of the community.

"We can't control the calls that come in," Ashcraft said noting that once the situation was discovered officials began to meet the challenge head-on. "This could mean response times too, maybe, take a little longer."

He feels that James River made a mistake.

"I'm sure it wasn't intentional just a mix-up," he said. "But a mix up you hope will never happen. At this time we don't know why it happened, but we will do what we can to make sure it doesn't happen again."

If the vehicles were put out on the road they could cause their own fire since running diesel vehicles with regular gasoline could cause the engines to blow up.

Currently, the county is working to drain the fuel from its emergency service vehicles and tanks with assistance from James River.

A timeline on when they can get back on the road wasn't clear by Monday afternoon. "I'm not sure how long it will take," Ashcraft admits. "It could be a day or two."

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©2019 The Progress-Index, Petersburg, Va.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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