Thursday, January 8, 2004

More stores sold gas-tainted kerosene



By Dan Klepal
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Three more area stores on Wednesday joined a list of Marathon Ashland Petroleum outlets that have sold kerosene that was inadvertently mixed with gasoline.

Citing the possibility of fire or explosion from its use, Marathon officials again asked anyone who bought kerosene from those stores to not use the fuel and return it. It will be replaced for free.

Company officials said that 11 stores in the Tristate sold the tainted kerosene between Dec. 1 and Jan. 5.

It remained unclear how much of the kerosene may have been mixed with gasoline or how much was sold.

Gasoline has a flash point much lower than kerosene, so even trace amounts of gas in kerosene could spark a fire - or possibly an explosion - if used in heaters or lanterns.

There have been no known fires or explosions because of the contaminated kerosene, said Marathon spokesman Chuck Rice said.

A tanker truck driver noticed the problem last weekend when he smelled gasoline in his kerosene load. The company traced the problem to a Cincinnati distribution center, where drivers put a code into a computerized system that delivers fuel into the tanker. Rice said the company believes a "mechanical failure" may have caused gasoline to blend with kerosene. More than one tanker was contaminated, he said.

All kerosene storage tanks at the stores have been drained and cleaned before being refilled.

Stores that carried suspect fuel

• Petro Ventures, 5828 West New Market, Hillsboro.

• East Enterprise Marathon, 1317 Highway 250, East Enterprise, Ind.

• Miamitown Marathon, 6383 Hamilton Cleves Highway, Miamitown.

• Mount Orab Marathon, 570 N. High St., Mount Orab.

• Marathon Colony Food Mart, 5284 College Corner Pike, Oxford.

• Sardinia Fuel Mart, 153 Winchester St., Sardinia.

• Speedway, 51 W. Main St., Amelia.

• Sunoco, 1502 Wayne Ave., Dayton, Ohio.

• Sunoco, 1046 S. Miami Blvd., West Milton.

• Swifty, 501 Green Blvd., Aurora, Ind.

• Warsaw General Store, 104 E. Main St., Warsaw, Ky.

E-mail dklepal@enquirer.com




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