AUBURN — A quick-thinking motorist alerted a semi-truck driver that diesel fuel was leaking from under his truck Tuesday as the vehicle traveled down Center Street.

Auburn Fire Department acting Lt. David O’Connell of Engine 5 said the spill occurred around 2:30 p.m. in front of Pat’s Pizza, 85 Center St. He said the tractor-trailer was operated by Thomas Barnard of Nashville and had just passed through the Union Street Bypass when the fuel line came out of his fuel tank. It leaked for about 300 feet before a motorist motioned to him about it. The rig is owned by Smithway Motors-Western Express in Nashville.

O’Connell said about 10 gallons of diesel fuel leaked onto Center Street. While some of the fuel made its way into a storm drain, none went into the Androscoggin River, he said. Crews from Auburn Fire Department, Auburn Public Works and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection worked more than three hours to clean up the spill. The northbound lane of Center Street was reduced to one lane of traffic during that time.

O’Connell said crews used dry absorbent pads to collect the diesel fuel and absorbent booms to collect the fuel that went into the storm drain. Crews cleared the scene around 6 p.m.

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