Reporting Mike Campbell
DETROIT (WWJ) – A HAZMAT team was called to a gas station on Detroit’s east side after someone tried to steal gasoline from a tanker, resulting in hundreds of gallons of gas spilling onto the pavement and into the sewer.
The incident happened early Friday morning at the Clark gas station at 7 Mile and Schoenherr roads.
Police say the driver of the fuel tanker was filling the station’s underground tanks when two men tried to rob him. The driver said he didn’t have anything, so the thieves pulled the fuel hose right out of the ground and tried to fill up a plastic gas can, police said, spilling fuel everywhere.
Police say the thieves managed to get away with about a gallon of gas, but about 200 gallons of gasoline could have spilled from that hose. While some of the gas remained on the pavement, most of it spilled into the sewer, police said.
The Detroit Fire Department’s HAZMAT team quickly responded to the scene and flushed the sewer system, but authorities are concerned about fumes from the spilled gas escaping sewer pipes that serve surrounding businesses and homes.
Hours after the incident, police made two arrests in the case. According to reports, one of the suspects, dressed only in his underwear, was taken from a home across the street from the gas station, where his gas-soaked clothes were allegedly found in the basement.
Residents in the neighborhood were surprised to hear that the incident occurred just steps away from where they were sleeping. BJ Davis, who lives across the street from the gas station, said she woke up and went to get her morning coffee from the gas station when she saw all the commotion.
“I asked Omar what happened and he told me that two young guys tried to rob the guy that puts the gas down in the ground and some little guys tried to rob him. They couldn’t rob him so they snatched the gas thing up out the hole in the ground and then the gas got everywhere,” she said.
This is the second time in a week that gas stations have been targeted by thieves in Detroit. On Wednesday, two men were arrested on the city’s west side after they were caught using a homemade contraption to syphon gas from an underground fuel tank.