Rain causes gas spill behind San Antonio International Airport

1,600 gallons of gas spill at Hertz Rent-a-Car parking lot

SAN ANTONIO - The rainy weather was blamed for a gasoline spill in the parking lot of Hertz Rent-a-Car at San Antonio International Airport on Friday morning.

The San Antonio Fire Department's Hazardous Materials team received a call about the spill just after 9 a.m.

When they arrived at the site in the 900 block of West Cargo Drive, they found gasoline coming from what should've been an underground storage tank, said Walter Yates, chief of the fire department's Special Operations unit.

"Last night, they were doing some work on the tank. It had about 6,100 gallons of fuel in it. With the rains that happened, it floated the tank. The tank rolled over," Yates said.

The tank was situated in a hole in the ground. Yates said all of the liquid was contained to that hole.

"So, basically, we have a pit with gasoline and water in it," he said.

But keeping the flammable liquid in one area wasn't the only concern for the HazMat team. The gasoline spill also sent vapors into the air that had the potential to ignite, too.

"We're getting a high reading on the downwind side of it. Obviously we're cutting out all of the ignition points," Yates said.

While firefighters shut off anything that might cause sparks, they said there was no reason to shut down airport operations. The tank, which feeds the gasoline pumps for Hertz's fleet of rental cars, was situated in an area away from the airport's terminals.

But Richard Gonzales did experience a delay because of the spill. He had business to conduct at Hertz, but was not able to do it.

"I came here to do a drug test for a job and they told me to come back Monday because they've got a fuel leak," Gonzales said. "This is usually a real super busy place, so this is really going to affect them."

The HazMat team was able to douse the concern temporarily by putting a layer of foam on the fuel in the underground pit. The fire department then called in an outside company to soak up the spill. The whole operation took about two hours.

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