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Oil spill, local homes evacuated

An overturned tanker truck leaking gasoline and diesel fuel at Paul Avenue and Union Boulevard caused the evacuation of hundreds of nearby homes just after 2 a.m. Nov. 17.

Bethlehem Fire Chief Warren Achey in a release reported no injuries or property damage, and emergency services, including city and Lehigh County HazMat teams, as well as a hazardous waste company ,were deployed to manage the spill.

Residents were offered shelter at Nitschmann MS, Bethlehem Area School District officials having delayed classes to accommodate the emergency, and the Red Cross responded with food and coffee supplied by a local Wawa market. Red Cross Pa. Rivers Chapter Executive Director Peter Brown said shifts of staff and volunteers would be present throughout the day. “We’ll rely on updates from emergency management ... but we’ll be here as long as we need to be.”

Brown said Friday that all residents were back in their homes by Thursday evening.

press photo by nate jastrzemski Local Red Cross Executive Director Peter Brown speaks with media at Nitschmann MS, where residents were brought in the early hours for a hot breakfast and coffee while awaiting news of their homes.