10 litres of aviation fuel leaks near First Street Dock in Tofino Harbour

10 litres of aviation fuel leaks near First Street Dock in Tofino Harbour
Lewis George/submitted
Lewis George, who owns the Himwitsa Lodge, says his business is one of the ones evacuated due to the fuel spill.

Crews were called to Tofino Harbour on Thursday to respond to 10 litres of aviation fuel that leaked near First Street Dock.

RCMP tell CHEK News one of two aged fuel tanks that contain a combined 18,000 litres of aviation fuel leaked 10 litres of fuel in the passenger, tourist, and vehicle area.

The area and local buildings were evacuated.

B.C.’s Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy tells CHEK News the leak has been cleaned up.

“The responsible party is assessing the leaked tank and an adjacent tank to ensure no further concerns,” the ministry said in a statement Friday.

The Tofino Volunteer Fire Department and District of Tofino are assisting in responding. The Canadian Coast Guard Environmental Response is also involved as the fuel is “making it’s way to the ocean.”

The environment ministry confirmed that fuel did get into the water.

The District of Tofino says the dock will remain closed to ensure public safety until it is deemed safe by authorities.

Lewis George, who owns the House of Himwitsa First Nations Art Gallery and Himwitsa Lodge in Tofino, says his business was one of the evacuated buildings.

When the first responders arrived, he says his wife went out to talk to them.

“What the RCMP told us, they said that they were going to make us evacuate, and one block surrounding the Tofino airlines, because they were concerned from this leak of aviation fuel of a massive explosion that could occur if any ignition of whatever would ignite because it’s really flammable,” George told CHEK News in a Zoom interview.

George says his wife had previously raised concerns about the fuel tanks with the fire department.

“We had an inspection done by the Tofino fire department, they came for the first time and inspected our entire building,” George said.

“And at that point in time, my wife asked them ‘well we have concern over the fuel tanks that are with Tofino Airlines.’ And their response was ‘yeah, they have concerns too’ but it wasn’t their jurisdiction to to be checking the Tofino airlines fuel tanks.”

CHEK News has reached out to the Tofino Volunteer Fire Department and Tofino Air for more information.

“I’m kind of frustrated about this. If they looked into it when our concerns were raised, they could have saved a lot of time if this was dealt with,” George said. “I have no idea who is responsible for checking on fuel tanks.”

Laura BroughamLaura Brougham

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