Oil spill prompts an evacuation

100 gallons leak in Dorchester; 1 hospitalized

By Christopher J. Girard
Globe Correspondent / January 3, 2011

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A heating oil spill forced residents of a Dorchester apartment building out of their homes yesterday, authorities said.

The spill of about 100 gallons at 251 Boston St. was reported at about 11:38 a.m. and prompted evacuations, Boston Fire Department spokesman Steve MacDonald said.

One person was taken to the hospital with breathing difficulties, said police spokesman Eddy Chrispin.

Authorities did not have the exact number of people who were forced out.

The tank was still leaking at 3:20 p.m., MacDonald said, and a cleanup team had not yet arrived, though the hazardous materials unit had contained the oil.

The building’s management was arranging cleanup and alternate housing, Chrispin said. MacDonald said residents would need temporary relocation because the building was not expected to have heat until the tank is repaired or replaced.

Robert Edwards, who lives with his mother on the third floor, said he decided to evacuate after smelling fumes, fearing an explosion or fire.

“That’s what we were worried about,’’ said Edwards, 26.

The building’s first floor was vacant and the second floor was occupied, Edwards said.

About 1 p.m., a handful of police and fire vehicles were clustered near the building, but traffic was not disrupted.

According to the Boston Assessing Department’s website, the building is owned by a Newton resident.

It was built in 1913, according to multiple real estate search engines.

Christopher J. Girard can be reached at