Punctured tank leaves Linden backyard covered in oily mess

LINDEN, New Jersey (WABC) -- A greasy mess sprayed across a backyard in New Jersey Thursday morning, and now, the homeowner is worried the ugly scene could lead to other problems.

A construction accident at a home being demolished is being blamed for the oil spill into an adjacent yard on East Price Street in Linden.

Authorities say the area is safe, but neighbor Olga Alexandre is worried about potential problems before it is cleaned up.

The house being torn down had an oil tank in the backyard that was accidentally punctured, and Alexandre found oil literally raining down on her property.

"I couldn't believe my eyes," she said. "There was oil everywhere."

She's upset, a bit angry and worried about the oil coating her trellis, plants and yard. She said the demolition crew suggested she move her car from the driveway while they tore down the house next door, and she complied. But then they attempted to hoist the 55-gallon oil tank.

"It was something that, you know, took us so long to build, and it is a mess," she said. "I don't feel safe. I worry for me and for my family."

Union County HazMat responded to make sure the scene was contained and to figure out if the oil would pose a larger problem. The new owner of the property next door, who ordered the demolition, was also at site and called it a huge mess.

Cleanup is underway, with workers scrubbing Alexandre's patio belongings, while crews door were given the green light to continue their demolition. Still, some neighbors say they are worried about their own yards.

"So tomorrow it's going to rain," area resident Elenice Newby said. "And the water will bring the oil down to my yard."

HazMat officials say it isn't a big problem and that the oil can be cleared with minimal damage.

Neighbors say a trucker used to live next door and that he did his own oil changes on his rig in the backyard. Officials say that does not violate any laws, and that this was a common accident that simply left a mess.

The new property owner has promised to take care of the damage.
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