Photo: Karl Dolnier

If an oil truck falls in a forest, does it make a sound?

Last Friday, Feb. 5, anyone who witnessed a Standard Oil heating oil delivery truck roll down a Wilton driveway and over the edge of a hill into a glade of trees would tell you that yes, it does make a very large crash and bang.

At approximately 12:30 p.m. on Friday, the Wilton Fire Department was dispatched to a south Wilton home to respond to a call about an oil truck on its side in the woods. Fearing that oil had spilled from the truck onto the terrain, WFD also notified the CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) while en route to the incident.

However, according to Fire Chief Jim Blanchfield, it was determined upon arrival that although the truck was pretty full, it wasn’t leaking any oil at all, so WFD held off on notifying the Fairfield County Hazmat team.

“Those trucks are built to withstand a lot of impact, so I’m not surprised that it was able to handle that [crash]. But it was good for everybody–there were wetlands close by, it was on a pretty substantial slope. So our main concern was making sure number one, nobody got hurt; number two, no product got released; number three, stabilizing the vehicle,” Blanchfield said.

Wilton Police are still investigating the cause of the accident and declined to comment. At the time the truck was unoccupied and no person was injured as a result of the incident. The driver had exited the truck and was near the residence on the property, and the hose was extending from the truck to the home in the middle of the delivery when the vehicle began to roll away from the house and toward the hill. After it crashed down the embankment, it came to rest on its side.

Blanchfield described extracting the truck from where it lay as an “extended operation” that took six hours.

Together with CT-DEEP, Wilton fire officials made the decision not to try to move the overturned truck until all the oil in the tanker was removed, requiring a vacuum truck to be dispatched. After that, the truck could be extricated.

“The heavy-duty tow trucks did a really good job in securing the vehicle, getting it upright and pulling it out of the woods,” Blanchfield added.

The chief added that considering everything, as bad as the accident was, it could have been a hundred times worse.

“There were a lot of things that went wrong, but a lot of things, we were lucky to have them,” he added.

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