Part of China Road in Winslow was reopened Wednesday morning after being closed following a vehicle spilling about 15 gallons of hydraulic fluid, police said.

The spill occurred between North and South Reynolds roads and Pattee Pond Road, according to Winslow police Chief Shawn O’Leary.

Winslow firefighters, police and public works crews were at the scene Wednesday morning cleaning it up.

Officials from the state Department of Environmental Protection were expected to arrive and assess the scene, O’Leary said in a phone interview around 9:45 a.m.

“I believe that the Waterville (fire) hazmat team was dispatched out there, too,” he said. “So, it’s a combination of many entities working hand-in-hand to solve the issue.”

O’Leary said a stretch of about 3,900 feet of road between the Reynolds’ roads intersection and Pattee Pond, near 720 China Road, were affected. The spill covers both the east and west lanes, he said.

The report initially came in as a vehicle fire, according to O’Leary.

“The car was believed to be on fire so we went out there along with the fire department, determined there was no vehicle fire and discovered the hydraulic fluid,” he said. “We had to shut down the road because one, it could cause a vehicle fire, and second, with hydraulic fluid, when you put the breaks down, it’s like driving on ice.”

He said the driver of the vehicle that lost the hydraulic fluid did not stop and may not have even known the fluid spilled into the road.

Police were trying to divert motorists who are traveling west to North and South Pond roads, and those traveling east, to South and North Reynolds roads, according to O’Leary.

He said that, because of the material involved, protocol requires the DEP to come in to assess the situation, determine if there are environmental concerns, and decide whether a cleanup company needs to respond.

“It’s good to have all those partners working together,” O’Leary said.

Around 11:20 a.m., O’Leary said the road had been reopened.

“However, please still use caution as the road is still slick and greasy,” O’Leary said via email. “Maine DOT will be posting warning signs to warn motorist.”

 

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