US & Canada

Oil spill on streets of Los Angeles

Workers clear up oil Image copyright AP

An oil pipe in Los Angeles spilled an estimated 10,000 gallons (45,000 litres) of oil in the streets, the LA Fire Department (LAFD) says.

A geyser shot crude oil 20 feet into the air, and over an area half a mile (0.8km) in length, the LAFD added in a statement.

The oil line was remotely shut off, and by 0600 local time (1400 BST) most of the oil had been vacuumed.

Four people reported breathing problems and two went to hospital.

A few commercial businesses were affected and a strip club was evacuated.

The above-ground oil pipe broke in the early hours of Thursday near San Fernando Road, a major road in Los Angeles.

LAFD spokesman Erik Scott said there was no "visible evidence" the oil had entered the city's storm drains, which carry excess rain water into the Los Angeles River, AP news agency reported.

However, Mr Scott said it was possible that the oil had seeped under manhole covers in the area.

The incident was reported by the LAFD at 02:05 local time (09:05 GMT). A LAFD tractor company and hazardous materials team were at the scene, officials said.

Street maintenance teams were using sand to help block the run-off, while the local department of transport was assisting with managing traffic, officials added.

Footage shown by local media showed oil shooting upwards out of the pipe and flowing down the street.

The company Plains All American later said the leak came from a pump station on one of its pipelines, and was due to a faulty valve.

The LAFD originally estimated that 1,000,000 gallons had spilled, but later revised this to 50,000 gallons and then 10,000 gallons.

Crude oil is a flammable mixture of hydrocarbons and can be used to produce different fuels.

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