Investigators say fuel spill was no accident - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Cobden, IL

Investigators say fuel spill was no accident

Investigators say fuel spill was no accident
By: Arnold Wyrick

COBDEN, Ill. - What happened at the Cobden Quick Serve on Sunday morning was no accident.  Now the Bowlanowski's and police are looking for who is responsible for the crime. "Someone turned on the pump, took the nozzle out, and then just laid it on the ground and walked away.  They placed it behind the pump where it couldn't be seen, and let more than 70 gallons of fuel run down the hill," says Bob Bowlanowski Owner of Cobden Quick Serve.

He and his employees moved quickly to keep everyone in the area safe, including the folks living in the path of the diesel fuel flowing towards their homes. "Of course there was the fire danger.  We had to shut the power off to everything in the area, all the homes and apartments.  Once the people were all out of their homes things got a lot calmer," Bowlanowski said.

Cobden's police and fire departments shut down the roads in the area for two block radius.  And a clean up crew was called into to begin removing the contaminated soil. "The safety of the people was our first priority.  Then we began figuring out how we were going to contain the fuel running across the ground.  We had to make sure we could get it all, without another occurrence.  And being on a Sunday it was difficult finding anyone at a designated landfill, all the dirt and rock has all got be disposed of properly," says David Stucker of Freeman Environmental.

People were allowed back into their homes shortly after 5 o'clock Sunday evening.

On Monday the cleanup on the fuel spill continued, as Cobden city crews were called upon to clear a storm drain that some of the fuel had flowed into.

In the meantime things are changing at the Cobden Quick Serve when it comes to people pumping fuel. "We've went to a new system, now if they want to pump fuel they have to come inside and tells us and we'll turn the pump on for them," Bowlanowski said.

The Cobden police are questioning a few potential suspects according to Chief Dennis Holbrook. "But we are still asking for people's help, anyone with information about what they saw Sunday morning from 7 o'clock, until around 8:30 that morning is asked to come forward to talk to us.  The owners of the station are also offering a $500 reward to anyone who provides information leading to the arrest, of who is responsible for the fuel spill," Chief Holbroook said.

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