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Staff report
Fire crews spent nearly four hours Tuesday cleaning up more than 50 gallons of oil from a transformer that ruptured as it was being removed from the old Pillowtex Plant 7 on Park Avenue.
Several people went through a decontamination process after having walked through the oil before firefighters arrived. No one was injured during the incident.
Area fire departments and a hazardous materials team were called to the spill at 12:42 p.m. after a demolition crew removing the transformer dropped it.
Chris Kepley, public information officer for the Salisbury Fire Department, said the transformer crashed to the ground and ruptured, releasing 50 to 70 gallons of oil containing PCBs, toxic chemicals used for a variety of purposes, including electrical applicances.
The chemicals do not break down easily and are listed as cancer-causing agents.
“It appeared that most of the spill was confined to the pavement, with only a small amount of the oil reaching the storm sewer and none reaching the creek,” Kepley said.
Kepley said crews put absorbant booms in place as a precaution in case some oil did eventually reach a creek. The crews also diked the spill area with absorbant material to confine the chemicals to the area of origin and notified state officials of the spill.
Cleanup crews were due to arrive within a couple of hours to begin removing the oil. In addition to Salisbury Fire Department personnel, including HazMat units, crews from South Salisbury, Granite Quarry and Cleveland responded to city stations to provide coverage for other incidents.
The spill was under control around 3 p.m. and the last unit completed its work 45 minutes later.

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