10,000-Gallon Crude Oil Spill Prompts Evacuation of L.A. Strip Club

A “valve malfunction” prompted an above-ground oil line to spill 10,000 gallons and spray black crude into the air near the border of Glendale and Atwater Village early Thursday morning, sending two women to the hospital, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.

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About 50,000 gallons of crude oil affected Atwater Village businesses on May 15, 2014 . (Credit: KTLA)

Crude oil was spilled across a half-mile area, according to an LAFD alert. Oil was knee-high in some areas, according to the alert.

Firefighters were called to the scene at 5175 W. San Fernando Rd. (map) about 12:15 a.m., finding black oil spraying 20 feet into the air and onto the roof and walls of a nearby strip club, according to the Fire Department’s incident update.

Fire officials immediately contacted the pipeline company — West Coast – Plains All American Pipeline — and the line was shut down remotely. But “due to residual pressure and gravity,” it was about 45 minutes before oil stopped flowing, according to the Fire Department.

LAFD initially estimated about 1 million gallons had spilled. The amount was downgraded to 50,000, then 10,000 around 8 a.m.

The two women were transported after stating they were nauseous, although it was not clear why they became nauseous, Katherine Main with LAFD said.

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Cleanup was continuing just before 2 p.m. at the site of an oil spill in Atwater Village on May 15, 2014. (Credit: KTLA)

Those in the area reported a very strong odor, and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health issued a health advisory due to the combination of odor and high temperatures.

“Cleanup of this spill is progressing, but individuals may experience discomfort from odors from the residual crude,” said Director of Public Health Dr. Jonathan Fielding. “These odors may result in mild, temporary health impacts, such as eye, nose and throat irritation, headache, dizziness, or upset stomach. As the temperature rises today, these odors may become more prominent.”

Area residents and workers should take efforts to protect themselves from the “extreme odor,” the health department stated.

Multiple commercial businesses in the area were affected by the spill, as were 10 customers’ cars parked at the Gentlemen’s Club, which was evacuated.

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Oil pooled in Atwater Village as firefighters worked to clean it up early May 15, 2014. (Credit: LoudLabs)

A “valve malfunction” caused the oil leak, according to LAFD. The pipe runs from Bakersfield to Long Beach, authorities on scene said.

The oil was contained using sand from a local concrete company that was formed into 30-foot berm, creating a 2-1/2-foot deep “lagoon,” the Fire Department stated. The pooled oil was sucked up by vacuum trucks, and absorbents and a high-pressure wash was used to clean up the remaining crude.

No oil entered storm drains, which feed into the Los Angeles River and ultimately the Pacific Ocean.

West San Fernando Road was closed from Chevy Chase Drive to Electronic Place, Los Angeles Police Department Lt. Richard Parks said.

The LAFD was being supported by the LAPD and Department of Transportation in the cleanup efforts, an LAPD news release stated. Fifth-three firefighters responded.

 KTLA’s Melissa Pamer and Chris Wolfe contributed to this article.


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