"We're in the early stage of where it might of gone and just how much is there," said Justin Johnson of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources.
State officials held a public meeting Wednesday evening for Barre City residents after they found a gasoline leak. Neighbors had complained about a strange smell for at least three weeks.
"Currently our staff is conducting monitors of the area and recording levels," said Deputy Chief Joseph Aldsworth of the Barre City Fire Department.
Barre officials linked a significant underground leak with North End Deli Mart, a gas station on Main Street. There was a mechanical failure in a small piece of the gas pump that is not typically monitored. It's unclear how much gasoline could have spread, but is believed to be about 3,000 gallons.
"I want to apologize to anybody who has been impacted by this. We're truly sorry for this incident," said the owner of Deli Mart, David Simendinger.
Now officials are doing everything to mitigate the situation.
"We took ventilation fans from fire department and put them over the manhole covers open and ventilated up to get any vapors out," explained Chief Chris Herrick of the Vermont Hazardous Material Response Team.
The ventilators are sucking out gas vapors, decreasing the level to zero. Pneumatic power fans will be put in place to keep levels at zero.
"Unfortunately when we shut it off those vapors come back," said Aldsworth.
Besides eliminating vapors, officials are testing to map out where the plumes have gone. Rick Rich is a Barre resident that lives right near the station. He just put his house on the market and is now concerned for the future.
"If I'm to sell it to a young couple with maybe a baby, couple of kids, dogs, whatever it may be, and two years down the road something happens because of this, who's going to be to blame?" said Rick Rich.
A lot of questions still remain but one thing is certain, emergency officials reacted quickly and are on call for anyone who needs them at any time.
"They've been the best, they've been the best for years, I've lived here all my life, there's never been a question of what they can and can't do," said Rich.
Officials are testing the city's drinking water to make certain gas hasn't made it to the system. The results should be final soon. Right now they're concentrating on the city sewer lines to see if the plumes have reached there. A handful of homes also have carbon filtration barrels installed to catch any gas if it does get into homes.
Friday, April 18 2014 10:02 AM EDT2014-04-18 14:02:17 GMT
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