Crude Awakening: Wrong Delivery Fills Man's Basement with Heating Oil

By Alexa Tsoulis-Reay
|  Friday, Jan 29, 2010  |  Updated 7:16 AM EDT
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Crude Awakening: Wrong Delivery Fills Man's Basement with Heating Oil

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Heating oil being delivered to a building

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A Long Island man has had to check into a hotel, after an unexpected heating oil delivery left his house smelly and greasy.

Lance Leach, who had his oil tank removed when he converted to natural gas over a year ago, discovered the mess when he returned from work on Tuesday afternoon.

While he was out Leach's former fuel supplier pumped 75 gallons of oil through the old pipe, destroying the newly-renovated basement of his Freeport home.

Leach, a 41-year old sheet metal worker in Mineola, told Newsday that he called the fuel company, O'Connor Brothers Fuel in Freeport, which dispatched a remediation company to clean up the mess.

The crew was sent to Leach’s house immediately, fuel honcho Mike O'Connor told Newsday.

Leach said that the cleanup team left high-efficiency, particulate-absorbing filters in an attempt to remove the oil smell. But his home on Lessing Place continues to stink. He has checked into a hotel with his wife, two sons and a 91-year-old family member.

This isn’t an isolated event, says Kevin Rooney, chief executive of the Oil Heat Institute of Long Island a trade group based in Hauppauge.  Rooney told Newsday that about six of these mix-ups happen each year on the Island.

Rooney explained to Newsday that when heating systems are converted, state building codes require the fill and vent pipes on residential oil tanks are permanently sealed or taken out. This is usually the responsibility of the homeowner.  "If that had happened here, there would not have been an accident,” Rooney said.

According to Newsday, an adjuster for Leach's homeowner's insurance policy inspected the home Wednesday. Leach is waiting to see what the insurance companies will do next, "We can't stay in the house."'

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