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NUMC Oxygen Tank Leak Causes Shutdown of Hempstead Turnpike

The leak started when a valve on one of the tanks blew off prematurely.

Hempstead Turnpike was shut down between Clearmeadow Drive and Carman Avenue Tuesday morning due to a liquid oxygen tank leak outside of (NUMC). 

According to East Meadow Fire Department officials, construction workers were doing a "controlled purge" of two 11,000-pound oxygen tanks outside of NUMC at around 10 a.m. when a valve prematurely blew off, causing the leak.

"The controlled purge then became an out-of-control purge," Chief Carl Pugliese said.

Homes on Clearmeadow Drive were evacuated as a precautionary measure, according to Pugliese, although residents have since been told that it is safe to return to their homes. People in NUMC's emergency room were also moved to the main area for a brief time.

"The oxygen tank was being replaced on the southeastern side of the NUMC campus," Shelley Lotenberg, director of public affairs at NUMC, said. "While working on the replacement, one of the valves broke, causing liquid oxygen to be discharged. We called the East Meadow Fire Department to assist us in handling the situation."

Nassau County Hazmat was called to the scene to assess the situation, and the leak was contained, officials said.

"The situation is under control as the leaking valve is being repaired," Lotenberg added. "We are not on diversion and there is no need to evacuate. There is no danger to patients, employees or visitors."

As of 11:45 a.m., Hempstead Turnpike was reopened in both directions.

This is a breaking news story, and Patch will have more information as it's made available.

Aaron August 23, 2011 at 05:11 PM
I think you mean as of 11:45am
Michael Ganci (Editor) August 23, 2011 at 05:47 PM
Thanks Aaron! I have fixed that!

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