A mix-up Thursday, Feb. 13 by a supplier making a fuel delivery at a local gas station resulted in motorists filling up their cars with furnace oil instead of regular gasoline.
The error resulted in damage to several vehicles and a hit to the station owner's pocketbook.
“Seaboard (the company that made the delivery) has accepted full liability,” said Dwight Lockhart, owner/ operator at Lockhart’s Auto Service at the corner of Central Street and Route 2 in Summerside.
The supply truck put furnace oil in the underground gas tank and gas in the furnace oil tank.
“No one bought furnace oil, or we would have seen it sooner,” said Lockhart.
Anyone filling up a jerry can with furnace oil would have smelled the difference, but at the gas pumps, everything is sealed up, he said.
The error was discovered when a customer spilled what he thought was gas while filling up his truck.
“When he saw the gas came out of the truck coloured, he knew,” Lockhart said. “Gas is clear.”
Lockhart got to work right away to fix the situation.
Seaboard returned to empty both tanks and flush the lines to the pumps before refilling them with the correct product.
Consulting his video surveillance, Lockhart learned 11 people had received the wrong fuel.
He has since been in touch with all of them. Nine vehicles were damaged, two seriously.
All of the customers will be compensated by Seaboard Transport, the service station owner said.
Seaboard told Lockhart it had never seen anything like this happen before. Lockhart describes the situation as human error.
Although he’s understanding about the mistake, the station’s bottom line has taken a hit. As of 10:30 a.m. on Friday, only one person had bought gas. By the same time on Thursday, he’d had 10 customers.
“I don’t blame them,” he said.
Clean gas was for sale again Thursday evening and furnace oil was back online Friday morning.
The Journal Pioneer reached out to Seaboard Transport for comment but had not received a response by deadline.